I've always been interested in trying to make some type of dahl or other Indian cuisine but I'm severely allergic to Cumin. This typically strikes me out for recipes with curry or chili powder. Does anyone have some PRO tips on types of curry (green, yellow, etc) or Indian foods that would allow me to venture off into this culinary space?

P.S. I'm also gluten intolerant and allergic to nuts and shellfish.


You know, I don't think you need to overthink this too much. If you look at a typical Indian curry recipe, it might have 10 spices in it. Just leave out the cumin, and maybe bump up the other spices a little to compensate. It won't be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious. You are correct that you'll have to be careful to avoid pre-packaged spice mixtures unless the ingredients are spelled out. Here is my Chana Mushroom Masala, from which you can safely omit the cumin: http://www.herbivoracious.com/2009/09/quick-chana-mushroom-masala-chickpea-curry-recipe.html

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Try Caraway as a substitute for Cumin. It has a similar flavour profile, just a little more intense. Some people prefer the flavour of Caraway and use it in all their recipes instead of Cumin.

I cannot tell you if you will be allergic to this herb, just like I don't know if you'll be allergic to any other herb because you'r allergic to cumin. Caraway comes from an entirely different plant. It belongs to the same family as anise, fennel, dill, cumin, licorice, and coriander. So if you're allergic to all of those (i.e. the entire family), you're probably allergic to Caraway too. But if your allergy is restricted to cumin, you could give caraway a try.

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  • 2
    Are you sure it won't be allergenic for someone who's allergic to cumin? If you are not maybe you should specify that in your answer. – nico Apr 13 '12 at 18:41
  • @nico Clarified – Swati Apr 13 '12 at 18:51
  • cardamom is gaining popularity and a nicely different direction – zanlok Apr 13 '12 at 23:17

-Unlucky! Cumin is one of the most awesome spices! It is almost impossible to make north indian cuisine without it. The flavour of cumin is not at all like caraway, yoiu cannot substitute the two. Caraway is more similar to fennel in taste, completely different to cumin!

You might try more south indian type cuisine using mustard seeds and curry leaves instead, or mustard seeds and fenugreek leaves.

These combos can still give you some delicious S indian style fare.

Good luck

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