Using Spices Everyday with Chef Huma Siddiqui

Cumin Rice:

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin

1 4 inch cinnamon stick

2 cups uncooked Basmati rice

½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)


Wash rice thoroughly. Heat oil in a pan, add the whole cumin and cinnamon. Let it sizzle for a minute. Add rice and 3 cups of water. Let it come to a boil and then reduce heat and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Can add a pinch of turmeric for color. Serve with any curry.

Zucchini Pakoras – Sliced Zucchini dipped in gram flour batter:

2 cups gram flour

1 cup water

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon whole cumin

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

2 cups zucchini-sliced

cooking oil for frying

Mix gram flour, water and all spices to make a batter. Add sliced zucchini. Heat oil in a frying pan, so it is hot but not smoking.  Add a tablespoon of the batter to the oil at a time. Turn it over when one side is firm and light brown. Take it out when both sides are done and leave it on kitchen towel so excess oil is absorbed. Transfer to the serving dish and serve warm with raita (yogurt dipping sauce with cumin and cilantro).

Tandoori Kofta:

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 inch cinnamon stick

2 green cardamoms

2 cloves

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 8 oz fire roasted tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon White Jasmine Tandoori Masala

½ teaspoon turmeric

½  teaspoon salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup warm water

2 pounds lean ground beef

2 tablespoons White Jasmine Tandoori Masala

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (save a little to garnish)

Heat canola oil in a saucepan. Add whole spices. Add onions and sauté them until golden brown on the edges. Add garlic. Add tomatoes and let it cook on low/medium heat for a minute or two. Add salt, Tandoori masala and turmeric. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and a cup of warm water. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for about five minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix ground beef, salt, Tandoori masala, cilantro and turmeric. After mixing it well, make the meatballs and start dropping them in the simmering mixture. Let all the balls cook for about 15-20 minutes. There should be a little bit of sauce left around the meatballs. You can reduce the water by turning the heat high, depending on how saucy you like your dishes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Raita-Yogurt sauce

2 cups plain yogurt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon whole cumin

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

½ cup green onions, chopped

1 cucumber-chopped (optional)

Beat the yogurt in a bowl and add all the spices. Mix well and add chopped cilantro, green onions and cucumber. Serve cold as dipping sauce with samosas and pakoras or a delicious side sauce with any main entrée.

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