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Name Variations

  • black caraway
  • black cuminseeds
  • black onion seeds
  • kalonji
  • calonji
  • habasoda
  • ketza

About Nigella

Wikipedia Article About Nigella on Wikipedia

Nigella is a genus of about 14 species of annual plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia. A common name applied to members of this genus is Devil-in-a-bush.

The species grow to 20-90 cm tall, with finely divided leaves, the leaf segments narrowly linear to threadlike. The flowers are white, yellow, pink, pale blue or pale purple, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a capsule composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds; in some species (e.g. Nigella damascena), the capsule is large and inflated.

Cooking Nigella

Kalonji refers to the small black seeds of the Love-in-a-Mist plant. Sometimes they are confused with "onion" seeds or black cumin or caraway. The seeds are deep black and sharp-cornered.

Kalonji seeds are reported to be beneficial for the respiratory system. They have also been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Crushed kalonji has an aroma somewhat like oregano. They are normally used whole, mainly in breads. The seeds taste pleasantly bitter and slightly pungent.

Kalonji seeds are generally sautéed in Ghee or dry-roasted to release the aroma and flavor and then added to vegetable dishes.

Black cumin seed

File:Black cumin seeds.jpg
Black cumin seeds

The seeds of the nigella plant are also used in cooking. It is used as part of the spice mixture panch puran and by itself in a great many recipes in Bengali cookery and most recognisably in Naan Bread.

The Turkish name çörek otu literally means "bun's herb" from its use in flavoring the çörek buns. Such braided-dough buns are widespread in the cuisines of Turkey and its neighbors (see Tsoureki τσουρέκι). In Bosnian, the Turkish name for Nigella sativa is respelled as čurekot. The seed is used in Bosnia, and particularly its capital Sarajevo, to flavor pastries often baked on Muslim religious holidays.

Nigella Recipes