This spice native to the Nile valley gives a distinctive warm flavor to a range of savory dishes in India, North Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, and America. The smell of cumin is strong and heavy and bitter in character. Cumin is essential in mixtures such as Garam Masala and Panch Phoron. It is also found in pickles, relishes, and salads. North Africa uses cumin as an ingredient in ras el hanout and flavors merguez sausages and couscous dishes. In eastern Arab countries and in Turkey, ground cumin is added to minced, meat dishes and to vegetables. In Spain it is combined with cinnamon and saffron in stews, and it is used in Texas in chili con carne.