12 Recipes Using Cumin

Roast monkfish
with cumin and coriander

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds/powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 100ml/3½fl oz double cream
  • 2 lemons, zest of 1, juice of both
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x 200g/7oz monkfish fillets, skinned
  • melted butter, for basting
  • 100g/3½oz green olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 6 salted anchovies
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • celery leaves, to garnish

METHOD

  1. For the aubergine, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Put the aubergines over an open flame and burn the skins. When scalded all over, place the aubergines on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked. Remove the aubergines from the oven and leave to cool.
  2. When the aubergines are cool, cut them down the middle and scoop out the creamy flesh – taking care not to pick up any of the toasted black skin. Using a sharp knife, chop the aubergine until it forms a rough purée. Transfer to a sieve set over a large bowl and leave to drain in the fridge overnight.
  3. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds, either in a dry frying pan set over a low heat or in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (this will take 8-10 minutes). When toasted, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Blend the toasted seeds in a spice grinder to form a powder. Pass through a fine sieve to remove any bigger pieces.
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and stir in one and a half tablespoons of the toasted spice powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the drained aubergine and, when hot, add the double cream, lemon zest and a splash of the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through and set aside.
  6. Dust the monkfish fillets in the remaining spice mixture. Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan set over a medium heat and cook the fillets for 6-8 minutes, turning all the time so that the spices do not burn. Remove from the pan and baste the fish in melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside to rest.
  7. To make a dressing, finely chop the green olives, capers, anchovies and red chillies. Mix together in a large bowl with the olive oil, remaining lemon juice and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. To serve, reheat the aubergine purée, if necessary, and place a spoonful on each plate. Slice the monkfish and place on top with the dressing spooned over. Garnish with the celery leaves.

RECIPE TIP

The aubergine may take overnight to drain after it’s cooked, but this is to remove the excess water which aubergines store. You will be left with the juicy flesh. This is similar to Middle Eastern techniques used to make dishes such as baba ghanoush.

Vegan chickpea
curry

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5cm/2in piece root ginger, grated
  • pinch of garam masala
  • pitta breads or plain basmati rice, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat a deep lidded saucepan or a medium sized wok and add the oil. Fry the onions and garlic, until the onions are caramelised
  2. Add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix for a minute and tip in the tomato. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons water and stir. Then tip in the chickpeas and mix. Mash a few of the chickpeas while cooking. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the ginger and the garam masala. Cook for another minute.
  4. Serve with pitta breads or plain basmati rice.

Punjabi chicken
curry

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 5cm/2in cinnamon stick
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 300g/10½oz onions, thinly sliced
  • 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5cm/2in fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 350g/12oz tomatoes, blended to a purée
  • 650g/1lb 7oz chicken drumsticks and thighs
  • 300ml/10fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
    salt, to taste
  • roti or freshly cooked rice, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon of the ground cumin, the cinnamon stick and cardamom. As they begin to sizzle, add the onions and cook for 15–16 minutes, stirring well and making sure they don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the turmeric and chilli powder, then stir. Add the blended tomatoes and cook for 5–7 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Stir well, making sure the masala coats the chicken.
  4. Add the stock and salt to taste and simmer over a low heat with the lid on for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, stirring halfway through. Turn the heat off and add the remaining cumin, the garam masala and fresh coriander. Serve with roti or rice.

Red lentil
soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 55g/2oz unsalted butter
  • 1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cumin, and chilli powder
  • ½ tsp each curry powder and ground coriander
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1kg/2¼lb carrots, sliced
  • 85g/3oz split red lentils, rinsed
  • 25g/1oz long-grain rice
  • 1.7 litres/3 pints vegetable stock
  • 400ml/14fl oz tin coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and add the ginger, allspice, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder, and ground coriander.
  2. Cook over a low heat for three minutes, stirring continuously. Add the vegetables, stir to combine, and cook for a further eight minutes. Stir in the lentils and rice before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils have started to break down.
  3. Blend the soup in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. Return to the heat and add the coconut milk, lime juice, and coriander. Heat through but do not let it boil again. Serve immediately.

RECIPE TIP

Fry the spices in oil instead of butter to make this a delicious vegan soup.

Chickpea, spinach and egg
curry

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds grinded into powder.
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp medium curry powder, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100ml/3½fl oz boiling water
  • 180g/6oz baby leaf spinach
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and cook the eggs for 6–8 minutes, or until done to your liking. When cool enough to handle, shell, halve and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a low heat. Add the cumin, black mustard seeds, curry powder, garlic granules and ground ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon juice and boiling water and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a high heat for 6–8 minutes, or until reduced and thickened, stirring often. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Divide the curry between two shallow bowls, top each with two egg halves and sprinkle over some curry powder. Scatter with coriander and serve immediately.

Pakistani spicy potatoes
(aloo bhujia)

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g/1lb 2oz potatoes, cubed
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1½ tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds/powder
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2cm/1in fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried methi (fenugreek leaves)
  • salt, to taste

TO SERVE

  • handful fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon of the ground cumin, the cinnamon stick and cardamom. As they begin to sizzle, add the onions and cook for 15–16 minutes, stirring well and making sure they don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the turmeric and chilli powder, then stir. Add the blended tomatoes and cook for 5–7 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Stir well, making sure the masala coats the chicken.
  4. Add the stock and salt to taste and simmer over a low heat with the lid on for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, stirring halfway through. Turn the heat off and add the remaining cumin, the garam masala and fresh coriander. Serve with roti or rice.

Vegetable
briyani

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small carrot, peeled, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, cut into small cube
  • ¼ green pepper, diced
  • ¼ red pepper, diced
  • 25g/1oz French beans, finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz frozen peas
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 225g/8oz cooked basmati rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 roasted cashew nuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • yoghurt, to serve

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/235F/Gas 3.
  2. Cook the carrot, potato, peppers, French beans and peas in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return to the pan.
  3. Add the tomato purée, green chillies, garam masala and turmeric to the vegetables and mix until well combined.
    Place half of the rice at the bottom of an ovenproof dish, spread the vegetable mixture on top, and then place the rest of the rice on top, spreading it evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the top layer of rice with the chopped onions, cashew nuts, cumin seeds and red chilli powder. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with yoghurt.

Coconut fish
curry

INGREDIENTS

For the spice paste

  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • handful fresh coriander, plus extra for garnish

For the curry

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 150/5oz cod or pollack fillet, skinned and chopped (frozen is fine)
  • ½ tin coconut milk
  • 1 handful spinach leaves, or 2 blocks frozen spinach, defrosted and liquid squeezed out
  • ½ lime, juice only
  • salt, to taste

METHOD

  1. For the spice paste, place all of the spice paste ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. (You can use a pestle and mortar for this, too).
  2. For the curry, heat the vegetable oil in a wok and gently fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sweet potato, curry powder and cumin and continue to fry for further 5-10 minutes, until the sweet potato has softened, then add the fish and two tablespoons of the spice paste. Stir to coat the fish in the spices, then add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Stir in the baby spinach leaves, lime juice and season with salt, to taste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then stir in the coriander.
  4. Spoon the curry into a bowl and serve.

Chicken
jalfrezi

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch salt
  • 750g/1lb 10oz skinless chicken breast, cut into large chunks
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 lemon, juice only

TO SERVE

  • basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 6 ready-made chapatis or naan breads
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 2 handfuls chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1–2 red chillies, sliced

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic over a low to medium heat for 4–5 minutes, or until softened
  2. Mix the chilli powder, turmeric and salt together in a bowl until well combined, then add the chicken pieces and mix well to coat. Add the coated chicken to the pan and fry for 10–15 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.
  3. Stir the tomatoes, ginger, cumin and coriander into the pan, then reduce the heat until the mixture is just simmering. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a tablespoon of water every so often if the mixture appears too dry.
  4. Stir in the butter and add the lemon juice, to taste.
  5. To serve, spoon the chicken jalfrezi onto serving plates. Serve with rice, naan and lime wedges on the side, then garnish with the chopped coriander and sliced red chillies.

Yoghurt-spiced chicken
Skewers

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts

For the marinade

  • 280ml/10fl oz natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder

For the tomato jam

  • 4 punnets cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 220ml/8fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

METHOD

  1. For the marinade, mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Slice each chicken breast into five strips, and add them to the marinade. Stir to combine, and leave to marinate for at least an hour (longer if possible).
  3. Remove from the fridge and thread the chicken strips onto wooden skewers.Heat a large griddle pan until hot, then add the chicken skewers.
  4. Cook for three minutes on each side until browned and cooked through.For the jam, place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for up to an hour until jam-like. Cool and serve with the chicken skewers.

Indian-spiced lamb shoulder
with Bombay potatoes

INGREDIENTS

For the spice mix

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ tsp cloves

For the lamb

  • 1 x 2.5-3kg/5lb 8oz-6lb 8oz lamb shoulder (bone in)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, split in half lengthways (seeds removed if desired)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints beef stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Bombay potatoes

  • 750g/1lb 10oz potatoes, cut into 3cm/1¼in cubes
  • 4 tbsp flavourless vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. For the spice mix, dry fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over a high heat for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Grind to a powder with the remaining spice mix ingredients. Set aside.
  2. For the lamb, preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2. Season the lamb all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof, lidded casserole over a medium heat. Add the lamb shoulder and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and chillies and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and just coloured. Add the spice mix, garlic and ginger, stir well, then fry for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cardamom seeds, curry leaves and tamarind pulp.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then cover the casserole with a lid.
  6. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, or until the lamb is very tender.
  7. Meanwhile, for the Bombay potatoes, boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
  8. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mustard seeds, chilli powder, ground coriander, ground cumin and ground turmeric and stir well.
  9. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir again, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  10. Add the cooked potatoes and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes, or until the potatoes have absorbed some of the sauce and are very tender. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the herbs.
  11. When the lamb shoulder is cooked, remove the lid from the casserole, baste the lamb with the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the herbs.
  12. To serve, spoon some of the Indian-spiced lamb onto serving plates. Serve a pile of Bombay potatoes alongside each portion.

Roast chicken thighs with lentils
and mint yoghurt

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken

  • 2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • knob of butter

For the red lentils

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 225g/8oz dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 500ml/18fl oz chicken stock
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp chopped coriander
  • ½ lime, juice only
  • salt

For the mint yoghurt

  • 300ml/10fl oz plain yoghurt
  • ½ bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zest only
  • fresh coriander, to garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
  2. Mix together the fenugreek, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, clove, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a bowl.
  3. Rub the oil into the chicken thighs, cover with the spice mix and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the lentils, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and cook the onion over a gentle heat for 4–5 mins until softened.
  5. Stir in the curry powder, then add the lentils, stir well and cover with the stock. Simmer for 10–15 mins, or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Stir in the chilli, coriander and lime juice and season with salt.
  7. To finish the chicken, melt the butter in a wide frying pan. When foaming, add the chicken thighs and colour on all sides. Remove from the pan and allow to rest.
  8. Mix together the yoghurt, mint and lime zest.
  9. To serve, spoon the lentils onto serving plates. Carve the chicken thighs into pieces and place next to the lentils. Spoon over the yoghurt and garnish with the coriander and lime wedges.

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