Black Cumin Seed - Perfect For Rice
Dishes and Creamy Curries

Black cumin (Bunium persicum) is a species of plant most often found growing in Northern India, particularly the Kashmir region. Related to the more common cumin plant, it too belongs to the umbelliferae (parsley) family of plants.

Another name for it is "kala jeera", but this is where some confusion lies...

Slight Naming Confusion

picture of black cumin seeds

Nigella is also known as "kala jeera" and also produces small black seeds.

Nigella seeds are jet black in colour whilst black cumin seeds are dark brown with ridges and the same shape as fennel seeds.

So watch out for the difference when you're shopping for these. 

Click to read more general info about the different varieties.

Getting hold of some...

This ingredient is generally only used in Northern Indian cuisine, so getting hold of it used to be difficult and quite costly. Nowadays you can order them online.

Note: Buy them whole rather the pre-ground powder and grind them yourself. The flavours and aromas they add to your cooking will be so much better!

Cooking With Black Cumin Seed

A particularly good dish to try them with is a creamy korma. The sweeter black variety don't overwhelm like the regular, more common white cumin seeds. They also work well added to rice based dishes.

I also think they work well lightly toasted then ground and added to the Persian blend advieh. Sometimes I'll use them in place of the white seeds when making my baharat or ras el hanout blends.

The roots and leaves of the cumin plant...

cumin plant picture

...are also edible. I've never seen these being sold in any of the shops I go to, but I imagine in the markets of the Middle East and North Africa they may be available.

To try the roots in your cooking you would probably need to grow the plant yourself.

The leaves are also edible, something else that is not commonly sold in shops.

So growing the plant would mean a steady supply of the leaves and seeds as well as the root.

I've never grown black cumin, but as it's from the parsley family, the same as the white seeds, I guess it would be similar and quite straightforward. Read more about the plant.

Other Edible Spices You May Enjoy Reading About

Cilantro - Culinary Uses
of the Pungent Seeds

Clove Spice - Tips,
Uses and Info

Cardamom - Uses and Benefits of the
Queen of Spices



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The Herb & Spice
Mix Bible

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