Nigella (Kalonji) is traditionally used in Ethiopian cuisine and this particular home-grown variety is more intense in taste and flavour than it’s Indian cousin. It has a more rustic, complex and mentholated flavour. The seed is crunchy, allowing this spice to add an interesting texture to dishes.
Whole nigella seeds are crunchy, warming, and peppery and 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. Whether used as a garnish or as an addition to baked or steamed vegetable dishes, nigella adds a touch of crunch and flavor.