Nigella seeds, also called black onion seeds, kalonji or kalawanji, are the small black seeds of the Nigella sativa plant, a plant which grows wild in western Asia. Nigella seeds have a herbal smell and a distinctive, pronounced taste, with bitter notes.
In Indian cookery, nigella seeds are often used as a striking garnish for flatbreads, such as naan, and to flavour dishes from salads to dals. Nigella seeds are also one of the spices in panchpuran, Bengal’s characteristic spice mixture.
To enhance their aroma and flavour, dry-fry nigella seeds briefly in a dry frying pan over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Use nigella seeds in fish dishes, such as salmon tikka, curries and vegetable dishes.
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