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Paul B.

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Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Paul B. » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:55 am

<table align="right" valign="top"><tr><td><img src="http://img.timeinc.net/cooking/flavorprofiles/cumin_m.jpg" border="0" align="left"></td></tr></table>Cumin. It's a spice that was essentially absent from the table when I was growing up, and for many years I paid scant attention to it ... until the last year or so, when I started making curried stews and lentil dishes rather frequently.

What are your favourite recipes that use cumin, either in whole-seed form or freshly ground? With cumin, a little goes a long way; this is one highly aromatic spice.

My favourite uses are in my homemade goat curry (where cumin is one of at least four spices I use for the rub) and in flavouring lentils. With the lentils, I will typically sautée some onions and jalapeño pepper and then add a good teaspoon's worth of ground cumin to the mix, then allow the spice to coat the onions and jalapeños completely; I then add tomato juice and cook the lentils in the resulting "broth" or base, if you will, until they're done. The dish ends up tasting not unlike a good bowl of chili.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:04 am

I roasted a pork shoulder last week after rubbing it with a paste made of pounded garlic, cumin, oregano, and lime juice. Very tasty stuff!


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Robin Garr

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Robin Garr » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:48 am

A couple of the more authentic Chinese eateries around here have a really good Western Chinese Muslim dish that's essentially a stir-fry of lamb tidbits and onions with a truly heroic amount of cumin, plus chile peppers. in a light, scanty sauce that's probably just the juices and the stir-frying oil. I've learned to recognize the characters so I can order it, and I'm just about addicted. One spot also makes a chicken version for people who don't like lamb.

One of these days I'll try to deconstruct the recipe.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Howie Hart » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:54 am

Paul, like you I've had very little experience with it. However, my first and only experience with it is in Chef Carey's Dry Rub and BBQ sauce, which I used on the ribs at NiagaraCOOL '06. :P
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Linda R. (NC)

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Linda R. (NC) » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:27 am

Spicy black bean and sausage soup. I got this from the Cooking Light Cookbook.
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Laura Brand-Bauer

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Laura Brand-Bauer » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:41 am

My mother grew up in the Southwest, so she made liberal use of cumin in food when I was growing up. I'm always looking for excuses to use it. Mostly though, it goes in my eggs. Yum.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Carl Eppig » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:00 pm

We've used it in dry rubs and BBQ sauce for decades. I'm sure Chef C came up with it on his own, but James Beard gave the same advice in the ole "Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery" back in the '60s.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by RichardAtkinson » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:11 pm

Cumin…let me count the ways

I love this stuff. We use it in:

Chili
Marinades – pairs extremely well with freshly squeezed lime juice.
Dry rubs
Salsas – both cooked & fresh styles

Or I baste grilled chicken or fish with a mix of EVOO, lime juice, salt pepper, chopped garlic & cumin

One dish that we do is to take cooked pinto beans, rinse them off, add chopped red onion & add the mix above, stir…let the flavors mingle in the frig. Makes a great bean salad that pairs well with BBQ or grilled steaks.

Richard
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Paul B.

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Paul B. » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:31 pm

Robin, that sounds great. I will have to pop by my local halal shop sometime and see what lamb or mutton tidbits they might have. Normally I go there to buy goat for stewing, but maybe there will be other cuts available too.
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David Creighton

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by David Creighton » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:42 pm

since i can't abide the stuff - i guess my answer is practicing my aim at the garbage can.
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Paul B.

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Paul B. » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:45 pm

LOL!! :lol:

I used to passively dislike it too, but had my epiphany when my buddy invited me over for Jamaican oxtails once. It was cumin heaven after that.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Randy Buckner » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:02 pm

Same here -- scrambled eggs with cheese, cumin and shallots is always a treat.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:39 pm

I put a pinch in red chile and a pinch or so in chili. Like you say, a little goes a long way and I approach it very cautiously.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Christina Georgina » Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:53 pm

I love it as well. Can't stop eating the Indian cauliflower/potato/green chili dish found in many Indian cookbooks. Uses whole seed, ground seed and toasted ground seed. Never appreciated the effect of freshly roasted cumin seeds till I started making this dish.
Something I make for the coming holidays are cumin spiced pecans - cumin, hot pepper and a bit of sugar carmelized in the oven . Can't keep them longer than a few days - they are addicting.
My favorite though is something I only dream about because I do not have a recipe. The rotisserie chicken I had at Pollo Rico - a Peruvian fast food joint in Washington D.C. several years ago. Whatever they did to the chicken before and during cooking was wonderful. Lots of cumin.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Thomas » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:00 pm

baba ganoush
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Bob Henrick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:05 pm

Mike, tell me about your roast pork shoulder. Was it the whole picnic, or just the butt end? I often do the butt on my grill at 210 degrees for 18 to 20 hours. This results in the pork being so tender that the shoulder blade bone can be removed by simply pulling it out, then the meat can be shredded with two forks employing a digging motion. Terrific stuff for bbq and I hear it makes a terrific meat for chili too. I put a heavy coat of a southwest flavor dry rub on the meat and use a remote thermometer to tell me when the meat reaches 190 degrees. you would be surprised just how juicy it still is even at that temp.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Bob Henrick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:11 pm

As you intimated Paul, cumin is essential for Mexican cooking. Chili would not be chili with out it. Most chili purists do not like beans in their chili, but I seem to prefer them. I also like quite a load of peppers, and the Big Jims (chiles) that Jenise and I both got a shipment of this past fall sure adds a great flavor to it as well. I roasted the peppers on my charcoal grill, then did a half assed job of de-seeding them, but didn't peel the skin off. I found that it is easier to do as I use them.
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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Bob Henrick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:15 pm

Laura, could you expound on how you use cumin in your eggs? I sometimes use salsa in my scrambled eggs, and I also use 1-2 of the big Jim's that I spoke of in my note to Paul. I do love the flavors of the great southwest.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:25 pm

Bob - I'm not sure which end I got, although it was skin-on and bone-in. I picked it up here at the Farmer's Market from a guy named John Bledsoe who's made a name for himself in local pork circles. I didn't use a thermometer for it, but it came out as you said - tender enough to be shredded with a couple of forks. The cumin-oregano-lime made for a very flavorful coating, but it didn't overwhelm the flavor of the pig.



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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Bob Henrick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:49 pm

Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote:Bob - I'm not sure which end I got, although it was skin-on and bone-in.


Mike the butt would only contain the should blade bone, if yours had a leg bone then you had either the lower portion, to a whole picnic. a whole one would likely weigh in at or close to 16-18 pounds. Either would be super flavor.
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Bernard Roth

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Bernard Roth » Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:56 pm

I use cumin in all types of curry, of course. I also use it in Mexican and Morrocan dishes. It is especially important flavor in my Mexican black beans. I use it in couscous stews. I sometimes use it in Spanish/Sephardic dishes, like chicken stewed with tomatoes and garbanzos.

Cumin is also a useful accent to flavoring sauteed carrots or winter squash (e.g. butternut). Saute slowly in butter, with salt, pepper, a bit of ground cumin. You can finish with a bit of fresh grated nutmeg.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Paul Winalski » Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:20 am

As already mentioned, it's a staple of Mexican and Carribean cooking. And also of Indian and to a lesse extent, Thai. Just about every curry or whole bean recipe I know of calls for it.

BTW, if you're into investigating the possibilities of cumin, don't forget the common cumin seed's more aristocratic cousin, black cumin, or "shah jeera" (noble cumin) in Hindi. This spice has a more smoky flavor than common cumin, and often appears in Northern Indian recipes.

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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:15 am

Bob Henrick wrote:
Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote:Bob - I'm not sure which end I got, although it was skin-on and bone-in.


Mike the butt would only contain the should blade bone, if yours had a leg bone then you had either the lower portion, to a whole picnic. a whole one would likely weigh in at or close to 16-18 pounds. Either would be super flavor.


Must have been the butt. It was a blade bone rather than a leg and it was much smaller than 16 pounds. It was cut a bit differently from the shoulders I've bought from out butchers.

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Larry Greenly

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Re: Your favourite uses for cumin?

by Larry Greenly » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:17 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:As you intimated Paul, cumin is essential for Mexican cooking. Chili would not be chili with out it. Most chili purists do not like beans in their chili, but I seem to prefer them. I also like quite a load of peppers, and the Big Jims (chiles) that Jenise and I both got a shipment of this past fall sure adds a great flavor to it as well. I roasted the peppers on my charcoal grill, then did a half assed job of de-seeding them, but didn't peel the skin off. I found that it is easier to do as I use them.


Green chile is good in everything. You've probably noticed that after freezing the skins come off easily. I usually peel them before freezing, though, so there's less volume.
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