Variations on a theme of C

A while back Sofia posted a great story on Schubert, who I didn’t know that much about apart from think (wrongly) that he was Charlie Brown’s friend with the piano, as a backdrop to her ‘Four Cs’ recipe…the four Cs being cumin, coriander, chili and curry…and over four nights I experimented with variations on this theme…

What you need

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (I had hoped to use my own coriander seeds in the recipe but they didn’t look quite ready when I looked at them and now the storms of the last week or so have pretty much done for my corianders til next season)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes


black pepper

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Your choice of meat chunks e.g. chicken, lamb, beef, fish…

1 cup of basmati rice

What you do

Wash the rice and put it on to cook in either a rice cooker, or pot on the range.


Warm the sesame oil in a wok – I tried a frying pan but it was too flat: the wok guides everything into the centre – and add all the spices.


On my first crack at the four Cs, I forgot the garlic…only remembering when I saw it on the window sill as I was serving up…

DSCF8263Once the spices are blended together and the fragrance is wafting out of the wok, add the meat and mix it in so that the spices are all over it.

Place a lid on the wok and let the mix simmer – you don’t want it to dry out so add a little water if it does – stirring it occasionally. 

In a perfect world, the spices and meat will be cooked just as the rice is ready.


A ring of rice

Ring the rice on a plate and serve the spices and meat in the middle. there should be enough of the spice mix to serve as a sauce over the top.

So that was variation #1 – forgot to take a pic of the final product…very tasty but I forgot the garlic…

Variation #2

As I had defrosted a three-pack of chicken breast from the freezer for Variation #1, I was pretty much committed to chicken for the next three nights…we all know that refreezing and reheating raw chicken just creates a lethal WMD, don’t we?

With Variation #2, I still had some rice left over from Variation #1, so rather than do the lazy and unadventurous option of simply reheating it in the microwave, I added it to the spices about five minutes after the chicken. I remembered to add the garlic to the spices too!

DSCF8266 DSCF8264Having the spices mixed through the rice as it was cooking/reheating really added to the flavour and I much prefer Variation #2 to Variation #1 with the rice on its own. Having the rice on its own, I think, works a lot better as a bland offset to a strongly-flavoured centrepiece (just hold that thought for a minute…)…

Variation #3

In Variation #3, I got all the spices right, added the chicken chunks, and then added half a cup of the basmati. In other dishes, when I cook the rice with the main dish, I use the old standby of a can of chopped tomatoes to provide the moisture for the basmati to do its rice thing…I was a little over that but had a can of coconut milk approaching its best-by date that I cracked and added to the mix.

DSCF8267 I didn’t realise quite how much I had made until I had plated it up…really, even for me after a hard day’s working, there was enough for two meals…from an economy point-of-view, not bad for one chicken breast and a half cup of rice…DSCF8271

Variation #4

I have had a pack of smoked salmon chunks in the fridge freezer for a while and they stare at me each time I open it to get something…I decided that their time had come and defrosted them on the fourth afternoon of this journey.


Because of their strong natural flavour, I decided (you can release that thought from Variation #2 now) to cook the rice separately as an offset to that strong flavour. I prepared and started the four Cs spices in the usual manner and added the salmon. 

Placing the lid on the wok and stirring the mix occasionally, I waited for the rice to cook. When it was ready, I ringed it on a plate and served the salmon and spices up into the middle. Certainly this was the best presented of this experiment and certainly has the best combination of flavours…


So there you have it: four variations on Sofia’s four Cs…cumin, coriander, chili and curry…Of the four, my preference overall goes to Variation #3 with the coconut milk, with the salmon of Variation #4 running a close second…

There was some rice left in the cooker after Variation #4, so I made a quick rice pudding for dessert but forgot to take a picture…twas yummy though…

1 thought on “Variations on a theme of C

  1. Thanks for the mention! Haha your variations are awesome, and I must say I had need thought about a salmon variation for this! By the way, I’ve made variations of this too and forgot the garlic 🙂 And you’re right, in a perfect world the rice becomes cooked at the same time when everything else finishes. Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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