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Spices Used in French Cuisine: Cumin – A Spice Borrowed from Morocco

by | May 22, 2019 | Uncategorized

Cumin Powder

Who would think that in moving to Paris you’d learn about cuisine from North African countries like Morocco?
But Morocco was a French Protectorate until the 1950s, and the traces of cultural exchange are present in French cooking.

I wasn’t familiar with cumin spice before moving to France. It’s actually a spice used frequently in Northern African countries. Moroccans, like the ancient Greeks, keep cumin at the dining table and use it like we use black pepper today.

I learned about cumin when I discovered Moroccan cuisine in Paris and then became aware of it in French recipes.

How the French use Cumin:

-in cheeses like Munster, and bread rolls.
-with vegetables like carrots, cabbage or legumes such as chickpeas.
-with meat dishes like roasted lamb or in beef stew recipes.

A Gluten-free and Vegan French Recipe with Cumin:

Green Cabbage and Red Beans with Tomatoes and Cumin

For 4:
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

• Pre-cooked Red Beans 880gr/30 ounces
• 1/2 Medium sized Green Cabbage
• 1 can of Peeled & Chopped Tomatoes 400gr/14 ounces
• Vegetable Bouillon 70 cl/24 fluid ounces
• 2 TB of Cumin Powder
• Salt & Pepper


-Simmer together on low heat for 30 minutes
-Add Salt & Pepper to taste and serve.

-Chop the cabbage in small pieces
-In a large pot add together the cabbage, pre-cooked red beans (if from a can, drain & rinse first), cumin powder, tomatoes, and vegetable bouillon


You wouldn’t usually associate French cooking with spices, but the French have been using spices for a long time. French chefs and home cooks have adopted this spice for a myriad of uses in savory cooking.

Cumin is known to help in weight loss, to balance blood sugar, and to control appetite. One of the secrets French women use to stay slim is to have on hand a variety of spices like cumin to make simple home cooked meals taste delicious.

And now you: Do you use cumin in your cooking at home? Leave a comment and let me know!

Photo courtesy of Taylor Kiser at

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