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Dinner with Rukmini

Browse all of the recipes in Rukmini Iyer’s cookbooks by ingredient.

Rukmini Iyer’s Cheddar, Cumin and Nigella Seed Straws

These visually appealing and super simple snacks are packed with addictive flavour from plenty of cheddar, nigella seeds and cumin seeds.

From the book

Rukmini Iyer


If you keep puff pastry in the fridge or freezer, you’re never more than 30 minutes away from a trayful of these excellent cheese straws. The shape is reminiscent of my favourite South Indian snack, murukku, which my grandmother could hand-twist and shape perfectly from scratch. But the flavouring reflects my all-time favourite Bengali snack, nimki – addictive little puff pastry-ish diamonds flavoured with nigella seeds. These cheese straws include nigella seeds, cheddar and cumin seeds for an even more addictive snack – try to ignore plaintive looks from any resident canines.

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1 x 400g sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
75g grated mature cheddar
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp nigella seeds, plus a few extra for scattering

Essential kit

You will need: a lined baking tray and a wire rack.


Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/gas 7 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. For the flakiest cheese straws, you want the pastry to be a little thinner than how it comes pre-rolled from the packet, so use a rolling pin to roll it out evenly so it’s about 5cm larger on each side, and just under 2mm thick.

Scatter half of the pastry rectangle with the cheddar, cumin and nigella seeds, then gently fold the other half over the top and press down at the edges. Roll the pastry briefly so it’s flat, then cut it into 1cm strips. Gently twist each strip several times before pressing the edges together in a bangle shape, and transfer to the lined baking tray.

Continue with the remaining pastry strips, and once they’re all on the baking tray, gently brush with the beaten egg wash. Scatter with a few more nigella seeds, then transfer to the oven to cook for 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and serve warm. Let any leftovers cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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From the book: India Express: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Every Day

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