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Apr 30, 2012 01:39 PM

Nigella/charnushka seeds.

Several years ago watching Nigella Lawson did a recipe with potatoes and several seeds including these seeds. Now I cannot find it. Anyone know uses for these seeds? I finally found them and want to use them

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  1. They're also called black onion seeds of kolonji in some recipes.They seem to be pretty common in some regional Indian cuisines, and I've got 3-4 fairly anglicized Indian recipes that get used somewhat often.

    1. Nigella using nigella seeds... hmmmm. I have seen them sold as black seed, black onion seed, black caraway seed, nigala, charnushka, kalonji.

      5 Replies
      1. re: drongo

        It was a panfried potatoes in olive oil with fenugreek, caraway cumin, etc... it was when it was still on BBC before she moved to food network. It looked so yummy. She even made fun of the fact it was Ger name. She served it with a fried egg. I would like some ideas how to use it as i bought a small jar and can find very limited suggestions on recipes. A point in the right direction, maybe?

        1. re: suzigirl

          Hmm, sounds like panch phoron, a Bengali blend that usually includes five whole seeds - fennel, cumin, black mustard, fenugreek, and nigella. It goes amazingly well with potatoes (try it in a breakfast hash!). So, you could look for that too.

          1. re: kathleen440

            I think that is it. It has been years since I saw the show so the exact seed blend has escaped me but that sounds like it. Cannot wait to try it. Thanks a bunch

            1. re: kathleen440

              Just found it due to your help and that is it in a nutshell. Anyone else have any sweet or savory applications would be helpful too. Once I try them I may find some ideas on my own but so far I just chewed on a few raw.

              1. re: suzigirl

                Sweet! I'm glad I could help. BTW, this is my favorite application for panch phoron, you should totally try it:


        2. I use them when I make cheoreg (Armenian sweet bread). Love the taste of them, so I use very liberally..

          1. For anyone who can't find them, Penzey's spices sells them.

            8 Replies
            1. re: AmyH

              I picked up some charnushka or nigella sativa seeds or kalonji or black caraway at Penzeys in Portland OR earlier this month on a whim and I'm looking for ideas of what to use it in. With potatoes seems a good start. And this recipe sounds very happy making: Any other ideas, Hounds?

              1. re: grayelf

                Ottolenghi has a few recipes with them like this one with butternut squash
                Or his green bean salad

                Or this simple radish side dish would be a great way to use them too

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Excellent links, Ttrockwood, thank you! Do you think delicata would work in the first recipe? It seems to be the only squash I can sell around this house :-). Green bean salad is seriously up the SO's alley and I'm game. And the radish treatment will be perfect for my lunch. All printed and saved for consumption soon.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Oh i'm sure the delicata squash or even sweet potatoes would work in the first recipe. Hope you enjoy them! Its funny how that one little seed can add so much flavor...

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      Nice, thanks again. I'm pretty sure I had a recipe in the back of my mind when I bought them but can't find it, oops. Thinking of making the cheese crisps to go with celery soup this week.

                      Re the flavour of the seeds, do they actually taste at all like caraway, do you think? I've long been a caraway hater, though I do like it in the wonderful Lithuanian bread we now get from our local pizza slice place (!).

                      1. re: grayelf

                        They do not have the taste of Caraway to me. They are a bit more bitter, with a slight Onion/Garlic Flavor.
                        Often used on Afghan Breads, if you have had that.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          No, not similar to caraway. Like chefj said more similar to an onion flavor.

                          Now lithuanian bread at the local pizza shop sounds amazing....!

                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            I suspect I've had them before and not realized it but am very excited to make their (re)acquaintance. And yes, the bread is crazy good. It comes from here, in case you ever find yourself in Vancouver: They make it three times a week but it is fabulous even two or three days old, and slices/freezes like a dream.

              2. A specific style of Jewish Rye type bread uses Charnushka seeds.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ospreycove

                  I was reading about that NY novelty on the Penzeys packet of all things.

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    Back in the late 1970s when I was in the kosher bakery business, we always made Charnuski Rye bread on Sundays. It was a sour rye with caraway seeds mixed in the dough, baked extra dark. The top of the bread was brushed with Charnuska seeds in a thin water and egg white wash and these seeds burst and burnt in the baking process, giving an onion flavor to the crust.

                    The bread got its name because 'chorney' is the Russian word for black, Czarny in Polish. The original owners of the bakery had come from Lodz, Poland and this the spelling ending with an 'i' not 'y'