Nigella seeds are one of the oldest spices known to be used in cooking. The tiny black seeds have a slightly bitter taste with some of the pungency of onion but also offer many other subtle nuances of flavour. Their appearance means they are commonly called black onion seeds but they have nothing to do with the onion family.
Nigella seeds are also known as black cumin or black caraway seeds.
Nigella seeds are an important part of the Bengali panch phoran spice mix, and are often used to decorate breads, such as naan.
Nigella seeds are readily available from supermarkets, Indian grocers and spice merchants. Buy as small a packet as you can, because you won’t use too much of this.