Nigella Sativa, a blessing from heaven which has millions of benefits, is a plant often found in Middle Eastern countries. It’s also known as ‘Kalonji’ or ‘Charnushka’ in USA. From ancient Egyptians to different prophets, all believe that Nigella Sativa has an immense ability to cure anything, but death. Even today, professional medical experts from all walks of life research on this plant and its culinary uses in order to fully utilize it for various health issues. For example, it’s been revealed that this magical ingredient has the capability to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Besides, it also facilitates in reducing high cholesterol levels.
Now, the million-dollar question is what are the culinary uses of Nigella Sativa? And, the answer is rather simple & amazing. Nigella Sativa produces delicate flowers which are usually in light blue and white color range and carry many seeds inside their pod. These seeds are ‘Nigella Sativa Seeds’ which we use for culinary purposes to increase the spice.
In case you’re a starter and don’t know much about these seeds and their culinary uses, the best thing you can do is to toast them lightly to release the essential oils. After that, grind them and throw them on some spicy Indian dish or soup. The users of Nigella seeds often use them as a whole too - without grinding process. However, it’s still better to grind them so that you can relish their flavor on an utter level. Furthermore, these seeds can be used for vegetable curries as well. People of Bengal use them in their world-famous spice – ‘Paanch-Pooran’; they mix these seeds with other spices like mustard seed & fenugreek.
On the whole, if we say, after toasting and grinding Nigella seeds, one can use them on any dish, especially as a topping, it would be utterly right. Since, they add a slightly different level of taste, which is completely beneficial for health. In fact, these seeds are also used to top flat bread and pastries in Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. The folks of Eastern Europe also utilize them on Jewish rye bread too. In case you’re on a diet, just add a few pinches of mixture on salad for extra crunch; you’ll relish their taste on a grand scale.
The aroma of these toasted and crushed seeds can be described as lemons with a faint suggestion of carrots; if you’d use them in spicy dishes, their taste would change into the notes of onions and black peppers. In general, the taste changes from person to person too. It’s better to use small quantity of Nigella Seeds first, rather than flooding dishes with them.
So, what are you waiting for? The benefits of Nigella Sativa for culinary uses are exceptional and transform you into a new “you”. From curries to pickles, eggs to cheeses, meats to fruit-pies, these seeds can be used to elevate flavors and turn health pains into a beautiful poetry. In fact, they’re a music that moves a million people each year with contentment.
NIGELLA SATIVA INDIAN VEGETABLE CURRY
If you love Indian food, you will love this recipe. This is a very delicious recipe from the Jamie Oliver Cookbook - Super Food Family Classics - You can buy his book on Amazon.com - here
These curry recipes are so easy to make and while have so many ingredients for flavor, you can change the veggies in the recipe for whatever you have in your refrigerator.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 fresh green chillies , deseeded and chopped
1 bunch curry leaves - if not available add in coriander leaves
2 onions , peeled and shredded
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch ground cumin seeds (brown)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons of Nigella Sativa Seeds
5 tomatoes , chopped
2 sweet potatoes , peeled and cubed
2 potatoes , peeled and cubed
1 cauliflower head (small) or broccoli
1 cup of squash if in season
100 ml coconut milk
1 handful French beans
1 handful peas
1 handful okra , sliced
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and heat the mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to pop.
Add the chillies, curry leaves, onions, coriander, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder. Stir and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Add your potatoes, cauliflower, and squash to the sauce. Pour in the coconut milk and cook until the potato is soft and cooked through. Throw in the beans, peas and okra. Season and cook for a few more minutes until tender, then serve with some nice basmati rice.
Check out My Video on Nigella Sativa Culinary Uses
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