Warm Cucumbers with Cumin Recipe

Indian spices such as turmeric and cumin infuse this cucumber side dish with rich flavors and surprising savor.

August/September 2015

  • Cucumber Side Dish
    Your guests may think this is zucchini. This cucumber side dish is also good as a light meal when served with rice.
    Photo by Barbara Damrosch
  • Cucumber Side Dish

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Cucumbers take on a new personality in this dish with Indian spices — cumin for fragrance and flavor, and turmeric for its warm golden color. As side-dish recipes go, these cucumbers pair well with meat and fish, but could also be a light meal alongside rice and topped with a dollop of plain yogurt.


• 2 medium onions, peeled
• 2 long, skinny cucumbers, unpeeled, about 1-1/2 pounds
• 4 tbsp butter, divided
• Pinch of salt
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• Freshly ground black pepper


1. Cut the onions into quarters, then into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the cucumbers into 1/4-inch slices, discarding the tips. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onions, cucumbers and a pinch of salt. Stir for 1 or 2 minutes, and then cover for 5 minutes, sweating the vegetables and making sure they don’t burn. Remove the lid and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are just tender. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat and add the cumin and turmeric. Stir continuously to cook the spices and bring out their flavor. Add to the vegetables and stir to coat them thoroughly. Season with black pepper and serve warm with rice. Pass a bowl of whole, plain yogurt if desired.

More About Cucumbers and Peppers:

Chiles Rellenos Recipe
Chunky Gazpacho Recipe
Growing and Cooking with Cucumbers and Peppers

Barbara Damrosch and her husband, Eliot Coleman, own Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. Preserved hot chile peppers keep their meals lively during Maine’s long winters. She is the author of The Garden Primer and, with Coleman, of The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.

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