Though Nigella seeds don’t have a heady scent, they pack a real punch – making them a quick way to add a whack of flavour to salads or roasted vegetables. The savoury notes and dramatic colour also mean that Nigella seeds are used to fleck homemade breads, from Peshwari naans to pita and challah.
It’s easy to see how they get the nickname ‘Middle Eastern poppy seeds’ – with Nigella seeds often studding pilaf rice and filo bakes. They are also used in Indian dishes, particularly slow-braised kormas and chutney.
Though Nigella seeds might not be seen as a core spice, they have been eaten enthusiastically for centuries thanks to their medicinal properties (read more below). Even the Prophet Muhammad allegedly described them as a “remedy for every disease except death.” It’s just one of many reasons to start sprinkling Nigella seeds over roasted vegetables, savoury tarts and salads.
We import our Nigella seeds from India. The inky blue flowers, which look a little like Love in a Mist, are harvested late-summer, when the pods are gathered and crushed and the seeds collected.
Nigella seeds should be stored in a dark, airtight container, to prevent them from losing their beautiful jet black colour and delicious flavour.
The Latin name for Nigella Seeds (panacea) roughly translates as ‘cure all’, and they are still referred to as a ‘miracle herb’ worldwide. Nigella seeds have wide-ranging therapeutic properties such as treating rheumatism to curing kidney stones, as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties. For more information, click HERE.
ALSO KNOWN AS: kalonji, charnushka
COOK THIS SPICE
Cheddar and Nigella seed biscuits