Caraway Seed, Black
Also sometimes called Nigella seed and Kalonji and Charnuska, black caraway is a delicious small black seed whose subtle flavor is used to enhance vegetable dishes. When cooked or toasted, nigella seed - black caraway is peppery and smoky; its taste is sometimes compared to oregano, but light and occasionally bitter.
Black caraway was probably first grown in the Fertile Crescent [modern day Iran-Iraq-Syria] and is now most widely grown in India and Egypt. Not really related to true caraway seeds, black caraway comes from a flower in the buttercup family. In India and Persia [Iran], this little black seed was traditionally used to remedy everything from rheumatoid arthritis to hemorrhoids to scorpion bites [!].
Black caraway - nigella seed is used in traditional Lebanese, Indian, Serbian, and Armenian cuisines. Black caraway is often used in English seed cakes, on northern Indian naan flatbread, in Jewish rye bread, and in savory pastries. Black caraway pairs nicely with lentils. Black caraway teams up with fennel, cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds for the popular panache phoron Bengali spice blend. Try black caraway in Austrian and German vegetable dishes [esp potatoes, cabbage, and carrots], and in sausage, duck and goose dishes. Black caraway is the ultimate spice to showcase eggplant's best qualities.
To bring out the full flavor of nigella seed - black caraway - kalonji, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.