Cumin and its place in my Tagine

IMG_7734Cumin is a spice that I’ve come to enjoy using.  It works fantastically with lamb, fish and so many other proteins.  Because it’s ground and kept in the pantry, it’s easily accessible, great for those times when you’re left with few ingredients to work with but you’re in the mood for comforting, honest food.


The addition of Cumin to my quick fish Tagine really brings the soul of Morocco home.  Close your eyes and imagine the hustle and bustle of the bazaar… For me, Cumin has this fantastic aroma. As soon as it hits the pan I think back to India, Turkey and Mexico.  I’ve not yet experienced all that Cumin has to offer but I know that the journey is only just beginning.

As it happens, my mother-in-law is allergic to Cumin so I often have to think ahead to ensure this hasn’t made its way into my roast lamb, kofta or seafood tagine! Other than that, it’s a fail safe spice if you ask me. It compliments my fish Tagine dish perfectly and the bonus is the super quick injection of flavour. There are added pluses to this dish.  It’s fairly quick – quick enough for a midweek meal – it’s healthy and it’s tasty. Now, let’s cook!

Cumin Fish Tagine


White fish fillets (I used Basa) cut into portions.  It’s cost effective and it freezes extremely well.

2 Roma tomatoes, diced.

Olive oil

2 Garlic gloves, peeled and diced

1.5 tsp Ground Cumin

3 Birdseye Chillies

Handful fresh Coriander, chopped finely

1 tin whole tomatoes

½ lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Equipment: Tagine



Place your Tagine over the stove top.  On a medium-low heat warm the olive oil, cumin, chillies and garlic.  Careful not to burn the garlic as it will expel a bitter taste.  As your oil is heating, stir and add the diced tomato.  Allow the tomatoes to heat through before adding the tinned tomato.  Leave to simmer on a medium heat, with the lid on, for 8 minutes.  Open, add salt and pepper to taste.

During this time, cut up your fish and add it to the Tagine, being careful not to overcrowd your Tagine.  Lid back on, turn the heat up to medium high and leave to poach your fish, this should take a further 6-7 minutes depending on the heat of your Tagine and the portion of fish you’ve added.

Your fish is cooked when it turns a lovely porcelain colour.  Try not to overcook your fish, remember it will continue to cook in your aromatic Cumin sauce so switch the heat off, juice your lemon over the Tagine, sprinkle the fresh Coriander and let it rest for a minute or two.

When you’re ready transport the Tagine to the table for a bit of food theatre – opening the Tagine lid expels the wonderful Cumine & Garlic aroma and reveals the lovely orange red saucy feast! I’ve heard many gasps of excitement as a result of this trick and I never get tired of it.


For a super quick accompaniment to my Fish Tagine I often serve it with a side of Cous Cous with fresh Parsely tossed through.