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Also Known as
Kalonji, onion seeds
Black seed, nigella or kalonji, is also known as the "seed of blessing" as it is considered to be one of the greatest healing herbs of all times. The small black seeds are got from kalonji bushes, which are grown widely throughout India. The seeds are about the same size as sesame seeds, though they have a more triangular instead of oval shape.
Apart from being a wonderful medicine, kalonji is a superb spice, used to flavour a variety of traditional dishes including pickles.
How to Select
• They are readily available in grocery stores.
• Select uniform-sized, jet black seeds.
• Check the packaging and use-by date.
• Having an elegant shape and a jet black colour makes nigella a popular decorative spice for tossing onto breads (such as naan), savoury biscuits or pastries, as well as over salads.
• A tempering of kalonji along with jeera or saunf goes well over rice.
• Its nut-like, peppery taste adds great value to any type of curry or stew, and to dal. Kalonji is either dry-roasted or tempered in cooking oil before being added to such recipes.
• Nigella is an essential ingredient in the Bengali five-spice mix known as panch phora or panch puran, used to temper dal, greens and other subzis.
• Toasted nigella can be added to citric pickles to balance the flavour and improve digestion.
How to Store
• Nigella seeds are best stored in an airtight container, away from moisture.
• It is good to purchase in small amounts and buy as required, to retain its aroma and flavour.
• Black seed contains nigella and melatin, two ingredients that give it highly diversified medicinal powers. These substances work together to improve digestion and to cleanse the body.
• Nigella seeds also help fight against respiratory ailments.
• It also acts as an antihistamine, which helps to reduce the negative symptoms of allergy sufferers.
• It is also a strong antioxidant and helps cleanse the body of toxins.
• Black seed provides a rich supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which play a key role in daily health and wellness. They help to regulate metabolism, balance insulin levels, control cholesterol, improve body circulation, and promote healthy liver function.
• Mix a teaspoon of kalonji oil in boiling water and inhale the vapours twice a day. This helps to relieve nasal congestion.
• To arrest vomiting, it helps to take ½ a teaspoon of fresh ginger juice mixed with equal amount of kalonji seeds powder, twice a day.
• For getting rid of worms in the tummy, mix 1 spoon of vinegar with half teaspoon kalonji seeds powder and have it twice daily before food for 10 days, during which time you ought to avoid sweets.