Author Topic: Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)  (Read 2781 times)

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Offline SnS

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Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)
« on: October 15, 2008, 02:35 PM »
Nigella is a member of the buttercup family (love-in-the-mist) and its tiny seeds are found in a head similar to a poppy head.

Seeds are small, matt black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior, roughly triangular in shape and 1 to 3 mm long.

There is much confusion about their name. In North India, where nigella grows wild they are called kala jeera or black cumin. However, real black cumin is also known as kala jeera as well as shahi jeera, or royal cumin.

In much of India, nigella seeds are known as kalonji (black onion seed). It is also known as black caraway and wild onion seed.
The seeds have very little aroma until they are crushed when they then give off a mild peppery smell. Similar in taste to oregano, nigella seeds have a nutty, peppery taste and an underlying bitterness, like mustard-seed.

Dry roasted nigella seeds are a popular ingredient in Indian cookery and are included in a range of dishes including chutneys, pickles, vegetable dishes, dhal and mild braised dishes like Korma.

The seeds are traditionally sprinkled on naan breads before baking.

Nigella is one of the five main spices in the Indian spice mixture, panch phoron.

Nigella is native to Western Asia where it grows both wild and cultivated. The flower is also cultivated in India, Egypt and the Middle East.

It is used by Indian herbalists and doctors as a stimulant and for the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and bowel disorders. It is also used as an insect repellent.


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