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Jim Tarantino
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Cumin Spice Rub
from Marinades(Crossing Press, 1992)

Lately, cooks have become more aware of spicy food from Southeast Asia and the Southwest. The North African spices are just as complex, maybe even more so. The emphasis there is on sweet spices that once were traded throughout the Orient, with a bit of heat added. A little bit of this rub goes a long way. A tablespoon per chicken breast is all you need, or about 1/4 cup for a pound of shrimp.


  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or a 2-inch stick)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
Combine all the ingredients in a spice mill or blender and grind to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight jar. It will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Recommended cuts: Shrimp (2 to 4 hours); chicken breasts (4 to 6 hours), kabobs (3 to 4 hours); beef or lamb kabobs (4 to 6 hours)

Jim Tarentino recreates marinades and flavoring pastes from all over the world, and provides instructions for preparing delicious seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables, and cheese - indoors and out. You can grill, steam, saute, broil, and bake with confidence that the marinade will provide the moisture and flavor you need without the added fat. Just assemble the marinade and leave your food in the refrigerator to soak up the flavors while you go to work. Then at dinnertime, it's a simple matter of cooking up these tenderized, flavor-filled foods.

Jim Tarentino is the author of Sorbets! For the past few years, he has prepared his outstanding recipes in Philadelphia's "The Book and Cook" festival.

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