OISHII / Cumin seeds bring out lamb’s flavor

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Grilled lamb seasoned with mustard and cumin seeds

The Yomiuri Shimbun Grilled lamb with mustard, cumin

In this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.

Cooking expert Maki Watanabe introduces grilled lamb seasoned with mustard and cumin seeds, which helps intensify the flavor of the meat.

“As lamb is low in fat, it is surprisingly plain,” Watanabe said.

First, you need to prepare the meat. Rub Dijon mustard and garlic onto the lamb chops well, then sprinkle the cumin seeds. This adds flavor and removes any unwanted smells. “Cumin and garlic go well with lamb,” Watanabe said.

Cumin seeds are more effective than powder for giving the lamb a strong aroma. The sourness and sharp taste of the Dijon mustard also suits lamb, according to Watanabe.

The lamb will become crisp with a proper sear on its surface if you use a grill pan with ridges. Excess fat is also removed. However, you should be careful not to overcook the lamb because it will become tough.

Turn the meat over once the surface is seared. Add white wine to increase the aroma, then cook for about five minutes.

If you use a frying pan, heat it sufficiently before putting the meat in. As it will cook faster, the meat is less likely to be tough.

When the meat is cooked, pour yogurt sauce over the top — its sourness will bring out the lamb’s flavor. Then sprinkle finely minced coriander or parsley on top.

“If you use ingredients with strong smells, such as herbs, they will add depth to the flavor and the lamb will become tastier,” Watanabe said.

Lamb smells delicious — it is not too rich, and you can taste the flavors of the coriander, cumin and garlic with every bite.

Cumin seeds improve taste

Cumin seeds are recommended for potato saute and turmeric rice. The potatoes will become tasty just by frying them with cumin seeds and salt. The potatoes can also be used as a garnish for the lamb chops. Cumin can improve the taste of turmeric rice because they go well with the carrots and onion in curry.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Cumin seeds are recommended for potato saute and turmeric rice.

Recipe for grilled lamb with mustard, cumin

Ingredients (serves 2):

4-5 lamb chops

1 clove grated garlic

3 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp white wine

1 tsp salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

2 tsp olive oil

6 stalks coriander

For yogurt sauce:

2 tbsp plain yogurt

¼ tsp salt

½ clove grated garlic

2 tbsp olive oil


1. Bring lamb chops to room temperature. Rub salt, mustard and grated garlic onto lamb chops well and sprinkle with cumin seeds.

2. Put olive oil in well-heated frying pan or grill pan. Cook lamb chops until surface is seared.

3. Turn over lamb chops and add white wine. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat. Sprinkle black pepper and pour yogurt sauce over meat. Sprinkle with coarsely minced coriander.

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