Black cumin is a part of the buttercup family and the seeds are dark, thin, and crescent-shaped when whole. The seeds have been used for many centuries in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and India. Today, black cumin seeds are used as a seasoning spice in different cuisines across the world due to their nutty flavor. Besides their culinary uses, black cumin seeds also have a wealth of important health benefits and are one of the most cherished medicinal seeds in history. Also called Shahi Jeera.
Spice is life. We all crave for some salt ‘n’ spice in our mundane lives. Ditto for food. Indian spices are the soul and heart of any meal. Among the diverse varieties of Indian spices used to perk up a recipe, Shahi Jeera or Caraway seeds are also used in Indian cooking for seasoning.
Also known as Black cumin or blackseed, caraway seeds impart a smoky, earthy flavor to a recipe. Darker than normal cumin seeds, Shahi Jeera is also used in masala tea because of its sweet taste. It is also an important ingredient of Garam Masala.
The strong and distinct aroma of this rich spice infuses an aura of typical Mediterranean scent into a cuisine. This sweet-smelling spice can be incorporated into breads, biscuits and cakes while baking, added to dry vegetables and curry pastes, and even steamed with rice for a nutty and peppery flavor.
Known as a wonder spice with excellent health benefits, Shahi Jeera is also used in the preparation of medicines. Let's take a quick peek into some of the many health benefits of this magical spice-
Good for digestive health- It is a carminative which means it helps with flatulence and digestion. It is believed to cure colic.
Good for respiratory system- The seeds are used as remedies for bronchitis and cough
Good for skin- It is believed to treat Eczema, dry skin and psoriasis.
Good for heart- It is believed to boost cardiovascular health and also help in regulating blood sugar levels.
It is also believed to be good for female reproductive health
How to use Shahi Jeera in cooking?
It is recommended to add Shahi Jeera at the end of the cooking process as simmering on heat for longer periods of time may cause its flavor to turn bitter. Toast the seeds briefly either in oil, or dry roast in a heated pan before adding to a recipe.
How to store?
It is best to store Shahi Jeera in an airtight glass jar in a cool dry place. If stored well, it’s aroma can last up to 6 months.