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Nigella sativa
Nigella sativa
Did you know that… ?
  1. …kalonji, together with cumin, fennel, mustard and  fenugreek is an important ingredient in the Bengal spice mix "Panch phoran", used to flavor legumes and vegetables?
  2. …kalonji pods with seeds must be gathered before ripening, because once ripe, the pods crack and the seeds fall out?
  3. …kalonji seeds are used to make sauerkraut, pickling cucumbers and squash, and spicing festival pastry and cookies (pastry is sprinkled with kalonji seeds, like cinnamon)?
  4. …kalonji is used to perfume pudding, aspic, compotes and gelatin?
  5. …kalonji's aroma is best released when ground in a mortar and pestle, or dry-roasted in a loosely-covered pan?
  6. …kalonji is an essential ingredient in curry mixes?
  7. …kalonji is effective against intestinal parasites?
  8. …kalonji as a spice consists of whole or ground dried seeds of the Nigella sativa herb?

Seed rolls

500 g white or whole-wheat flour
1 package yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seed
¼ l tepid water
1 tablespoon sunflower or flax seeds
To sprinkle: 1 tablespoon kalonji
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Mix flour, yeast, salt, caraway, peeled sunflower or flax seed and tepid water into a smooth dough and let rise for ¾ hour. Knead again and form into 12 to 15 buns the size of your palm. Cut a cross into the upper surface of each bun and let rise for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to a greased baking sheet, brush with tepid water a sprinkle with kalonji, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Pre-heat oven, insert buns, lower temperature and bake on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Just before the end of baking, brush again with tepid water.


The personal physician of Pharaoh Tutankhamen alleviated his patients' coughing with kalonji. Cleopatra used kalonji oil in her bath, Nefertiti as part of her skin care regimen. Effects of this herb were known in ancient Greece.  Hippocrates used it as a natural remedy for strengthening the organism for sufferers of general malaise and weakness. Kalonji is mentioned in the Old Testament and Jews use it to this day in their black bread. Even Mohammed said of kalonji, "It cures every ailment - except death!"