Nigella info Cooking Tips
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Nigella info Tips and Information|
Nigella info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
Often confused with black cumin nigella comes from a completely different plant. This plant is a relative of the delicate loveinamist which decorates many gardens world wide. Though the consumption of nigella in India is mostly limited to the north it is cultivated over vast areas its pale blue flowers creating a sea of colour in the lush landscape. Nigella is usually known as black onion seed a misnomer really as the seeds have nothing to do with onions.
How it grows
Nigella is the dried seed like fruit of a small herb about 45cm in height. The plant has wispy sage coloured leaves and graceful flowers which ripen into seed capsules. These are collected when ripe. They are then dried crushed whole and sieved to separate the seeds. Nigella grows in the middle East southern Europe and most extensively in India.
Appearance and taste
The seeds of nigella are 23 mm long and jet blac with a matte finish. They closely resemble tiny chips of coal and have five distinct points. Nigella has a faint nutty but bitter taste due to the presence of nigellin.
Buying and storing
Nigelia is almost always sold powdered. The seeds can be powdered at home after roasting them to develop their flavour and make them brittle. The seeds are best bought whole to save the risk of adulterated ground nigella. The spice stores well in a cool dry place.
Medicinal and other uses
Nigella is considered carminative a stimulant and diuretic. A paste of the seeds is applied for skin eruptions and is sure to relieve scorpion stings. The seeds are often scattered between folds of clothes as an effective insect repellent. Alcoholic extracts of the seeds are used as stabilising agents for some edible fats.
Even in India nigella is a mysterious spice. Many people are not aware of its flavour and therefore tend to be sceptical about its use. However nigella goes beautifully with fish in naan bread and in salads. In west Bengal the most prolific spice blend is panch phoron a mixture of 5 spices including nigella and this gives vegetables pulses and lentils a distinctive Bengali taste. In the middle East it is used to flavour bread.
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