Whole nigella seeds are crunchy, warming, and peppery.
Nigella is a staple of Middle Eastern, North African, and Indian cooking. Sometimes mistakenly called black onion seeds, the nigella sativa plant more closely resembles a poppy plant, while the seeds look like black sesame seeds. The taste of nigella seeds, however, is unmistakably oniony.
Nigella seeds are used in countless ways, from naan and other breads to soups and even pickles. In India, where it is called kalonji, it is often browned in oil with other whole spices to create the flavor base of many dishes. It’s a great topping for salads as well. Whether used as a garnish or as an addition to baked or steamed vegetable dishes, nigella adds a touch of crunch and flavor.