Black Cumin seeds are smaller and more delicate than regular cumin. Black Cumin in particular benefits from frying, which mellows the bitterness and adds a nutty backdrop.
They are an essential part of Indian cooking, particularly in the north, and are popular in Pakistan and many central Asian countries. Black Cumin can easily be confused with nigella, which is also known as onion seeds.
Black Cumin seed resembles common brown cumin, but lacks the earthy tones that would make it an exact cumin substitute. Black Cumin is often added at the end of cooking. In Gujarat, it is usually fried in ghee with garlic and chilies and poured as a finishing touch. The crispy, whole seeds add a lovely texture to creamy lentils and soups as well.