Also called as black cumin or kalonji, nigella belongs to the flowering buttercup family. The plant grows up to 30 cm tall. It produces a fruit with seeds that are widely used in many cuisines as a flavourful spice. The nigella seed has been in use since centuries. Early Egyptians and Indians used this magical spice to cure anything from an upset stomach to infections.
Flavour and Aroma
Nigella seeds have a hint of a savoury scent, almost similar to fennel. It also has a pungent flavour like a nutmeg, although the seeds are not related to either. Its oregano-like quality is coupled with a herbaceous note. You can taste slight bitterness along with a warm and toasted-onion flavour.
What Can You Do With Them?
The seeds give out the best flavours when they are whole. They are widely used in India, parts of North Africa, and the Middle East. The seeds are predominantly used to season curries, rice, and other sweet confections. You can add them in whole on salads, soups, and sauces. Just sprinkle a few of these seeds before serving. They also make an excellent replacement for sesame seeds minus the sweetness element.
Toast them lightly and allow it t release the essential oils. Once done, you can use them in a wide variety of South Asian dishes. From simple vegetable curries to nan bread, these seeds work on all kinds of dishes.
Nigella seeds have a cross-cultural use of bread. Flatbread in Turkey and the Middle East are sprinkled with these seeds to add flavour. Eastern Europe uses these seeds as a replacement for caraway seeds.
What Are The Benefits?
Packed With Antioxidants:
Antioxidants have a powerful impact on your health. They neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to your cells. Consuming these seeds regularly will help you fight chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.
Relief from Asthma:
Research indicates that consuming these seeds, along with asthma medicines, can provide relief from wheezing, coughing, and lung functions.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is distributed throughout the body. Some amount of it is required for normal body functions. However, too much fat accumulation may lead to increased risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that black cumin can reduce both the bad LDL and total cholesterol in our body.
Can Help Kill the Bacteria:
From pneumonia to ear infections, harmful bacteria cause many ailments. These seeds have antibacterial properties that help to keep disease-causing bacteria away from your body.
Known since ancient times as an effective healing agent, kalonji is one of the most potent and versatile healing agents. The sharp flavour of the seed will linger on your taste buds and enrich your cooking experience.