Cooking and Spices

I have been cooking for a few years now, and I have a small repertoire of things that I can cook decently. Most of them are simple, such as pasta, chicken fried rice, or grilled fish, but I do try to experiment and branch out, too. I am a really big fan of spices, and so I am always trying to discover new spices and new combinations for old ones, too. One of my favorite things to do is to try a very plain fish, baked with different spice combinations. This allows me to test out new ideas, and was how I discovered that curry and chipolte chili powder go together well (try it if you don’t believe me).

On a different note, every since I haved moved into this apartment, I have been watching the Food Network a lot. I don’t watch the “how to cook” shows very much, I prefer the cooking competitions or events (Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Dinner Impossible, Iron Chef America, etc.) more. I think I enjoy it because it shows the amazing talents of the cooks. Take Tony Hawk for example. Sure, it’s fun for him to do a show on how to skateboard, how to do basic things, and such, but it’s much more fun to watch him do the amazing stuff that most people could never even hope to do. That’s how I feel about the cooking shows. It’s fun to watch the learning how to cook shows sometimes, but I would rather watch them do amazing things that I could never cook. (I think this may be part of the reason that the expressions lessons and advanced lessons are more popular than the regular and intermediate lessons, as another example)

The reason I mention these two things together is the following. Quite often on the cooking shows I watch, they use a spice called cumin. I am not familiar with it, and I see different chefs use it all the time, for a variety of things. So, last night, while I was at the store, I decided to buy some cumin, so I could attempt to cook something with it. When I got home, I opened it, and smelled it. The smell was incredibly strong, and definitely nothing like I have ever used. And because of that, I have no idea what to use it with. Based purely on the smell, I think it might go well with curry or maybe paprika, but I really have no idea. So…any suggestions? I know some of you have to be cooks!

9 thoughts on “Cooking and Spices

  1. Hi Thomas,

    I use cumin to spice fish up. It’s a sauce I learned the recipe from my Tunisian family : you have to mix cumin, lemon, oil and red chili paste (called harissa). You spread this cold sauce on your cooked fish, in your plate.
    bon appetit Thomas!

  2. Hello!
    I don’t know if you are still looking for cumin recipes but when I want to find how to use an ingredient a few years ago (now I try and see lol) I used to go on
    In spite of the name, it is very useful!

    And I am not a “grand chef” but if U like cooking
    Je vais en mettre de plus en plus, notamment des muffins (j’adore ça, et avec certaines recettes on peut utiliser différentes épices justement^^)
    Oops I’ve switched to French… sorry.

    In any case ( ;-) ) enjoy your meal!

  3. c’est drôle car ce week-end je voulais traduire toutes les épices en anglais et je n’ai pas trouvé la traduction de “cumin” dans mon dictionnaire. Pourquoi y a -t-il nutmeg = muscade et pas cumin ?? peut-être que vous n’aimez pas cette épice comme vous n’aimez pas les escargots ?
    merci pour le podcast, j’adore vraiment ça m’aide beaucoup. J’aimerai un article sur les différences France-USA sur la façon de manger. I’ve noticed that in states, there were huge breakfast with eggs, pancakes,sausages… how can you eat at lunch after that ? in france, the most popular breakfast is “pain beurre et confiture”. What do you have for breakfast ?
    and as you like cooking, have a look at this blog written in english by a french woman.

  4. Thank you Thomas for the recording. I’m not very confortable with the material computer but of course it is very easy to use it. What i want you to say is that I ‘m really surprised by the different possibilities you can give the information. And listening the recording was very useful for the pronunciation. So you see i do not only learn English but also discovering the different possibiliies of using a computer. thank you so much for everything.

  5. Hello Thomas…Cumin it’s for orientale food like couscous, tagine, courgettes (zucchini), eggplant…..A recipe very easy if you like….On a pie plate, put on a slice of courgette, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatos, salt, a littel spoon of cumin, paprika, olive oil. 45 minutes on hot oven, Time to send us a funny podcast and “Bon appétit” . Bye, A.M.V.

  6. Céline — merci pour l’idée! Ce que j’ai acheté, c’était le cumin moulu, alors je vais acheter du gingembre pour l’essayer.

    And Joëlle, to answer your question, I thought I would just record it instead of trying to explain the pronunciation :p

  7. Hello Thomas
    As Celine told you, use “Cumin” with the “Munster Cheese” You will find this cheese at the “rayon” of cheese at Carrefour, for example, because I know through the podcast that you like to go there shopping. The “cumin must be very fresh it will taste better. Tell me how do you say in English “Cumin” I have also learned something with the cumin powder. I never had used it and I didnt know how to mix it. Thank you Céline. Thank for everythings, Thomas.
    Hope to hearing soon

  8. Hi Thomas !

    Ca fait longtemps !!!

    J’utilise le cumin. Il existe sous 2 formes : en grain et moulu. Depuis toute petite, je mange du cumin en grain avec des fromages comme le “munster”. Pour ce qui est du cumn moulu, je le mélange volontier avec la coriandre et/ou le gingembre.



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