As above, if you use fennel, cumin or other seeds whole, will the oils get released into the pot liquid or must one ground the seed then add for the oils to come out?

  • Smaller particle size(around 0.5mm) will make for easier extraction of the oil, you can see several papers about steam distillation of cumin. So using ground is better, freshly ground if possible for maximum flavor. Obviously, you wouldn't have to worry about the size, smaller is better. But, what is the purpose for this? Do you want to maximize flavor? Do you want to extract the oil? Because either way the oil will still be there. – user29568 Dec 14 '19 at 9:34
  • @user29568 I want the oil to mix with my cooking oil. I’m wondering if the seed needs to be broken for the oil to come out and mix or if it comes out with boiling in whole form and so there’s no need for grounding? – James Wilson Dec 14 '19 at 12:30
  • Typically Indian recipes fry the cumin seeds in hot oil to release the aroma and add extra flavor. In those recipes the seeds are left whole; it is definitely the preferred method for getting the best flavor in the shortest amount of time. As for boiling, the oil will come out in whole form but its a question of how much and yield. There is more yield when it is ground. But, you lose the nice taste you get when you bite into the seed, since it permeates the whole dish in its ground form. – user29568 Dec 14 '19 at 12:36
  • I have never done this but you can fry the seeds then grind them and add it to your sauce, I guess that will maximize the oil extraction. – user29568 Dec 14 '19 at 12:38

Fennel and cumin will release their flavors if cooked long enough in a sauce. I usually fry them in oil before adding other ingredients as I like the result, but that's not a required step. If you have a short cooking time use powdered. You can also crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle to speed up flavor release.

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