From India. Whether you want to make chicken enchiladas or marinade for carne asada, you’ll use cumin. It has a potent, earthy, spicy-nutty taste with a distinctive with hint of lemon and mild bitter undertones. Cooks throughout Latin America, Mexico, the Middle and Far East use it sparingly as signature spice in many of their dishes. Beans, lentils, rice, chicken, lamb, potatoes and many vegetables all flourish with a dash of cumin.