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Cumin-Chile Pork Kebabs


Serve with Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles

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Rate this recipe 4.5/5 (8 Votes)


  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 4 scallions (3 roughly chopped, 1 thinly sliced)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-to-2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


Servings 6
Preparation time 40mins
Cooking time 60mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Soak 12 long wooden skewers in water, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan, until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Combine the 3 chopped scallions, the jalapeno, ginger, garlic, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, the five-spice powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms. Add the toasted cumin seeds; pulse once or twice to crack them slightly.

Lightly season the pork with salt and pepper; rub with about three-quarters of the cumin paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine 1 teaspoon of the remaining cumin paste, the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, the vinegar, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Stir in the sliced scallion and set aside.

Preheat a grill to medium. Combine the remaining cumin paste and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a small bowl; set aside for basting. Generously brush the grill grates with vegetable oil. Thread 3 or 4 pieces of pork on each skewer and brush with vegetable oil. Grill the kebabs, turning, until marked all over, 6 to 9 minutes, basting with the cumin-oil mixture during the last minute. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle with the sauce.

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