Cumin is a dried seed spice that is obtained from a plant called Cuminum cyminum. People in India and other countries use them as whole seeds as well as in ground form. In Indian dishes, small, boat-shaped cumin seeds are added to hot oil to impart flavor and then the rest of the ingredients. It is easier to bring out the flavor of the seed when the seed is lightly roasted over medium heat in a dry pan. Dry roasted cumin seeds are ground into ground cumin. The powder can be added anytime in the dish.