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What Is Black Seed?

Seen this unique little seed at the health food store but not sure what to do with it? Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine gives us the lowdown on black seed.

So what is Black Seed?

Although it looks like black sesame seed and its common name is ‘black cumin seed’, black seed has no relation to the sesame or cumin family. Black seed actually comes from the Western Asian herb Nigella Sativa and belongs to the Buttercup family.

What does Black Seed taste like?

Spicy, smoky and peppery, with hints of oregano and onion.

How do I use Black Seed?

  • As an alternative to pepper – sprinkle it ground or whole on your steak to give it a kick.
  • As a spice – Especially in Indian food. Black seed works well in lamb korma, chutneys and vegetarian dishes like dhal. In traditional Indian cooking, black seed is actually used a ‘carminative’ – a herb or spice that’s added to a dish not just for flavour, but to make it easier to digest, so to reduce gas formation… Throw some black seeds into a homemade lentil dish and see if it makes a difference.
  • As a garnish – sprinkle whole black seeds on your salad, stir-fry, avocado toast or scrambled eggs. Not only do they look pretty and a bit different, they add a nice depth of flavour to any savoury dish. You can also sprinkle black seed on some homemade bread before baking - it’s often sprinkled over naan or Middle-Eastern flatbread dough.
  • As an alternative to chia seeds for a vegan egg substitute: Simply mix a tablespoon of black seeds with three tablespoons of water and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes or until a gel forms, and you have yourself a binding agent.

Worth noting: Before adding it to a dish, it’s worth dry-toasting your black seed in a heated pan, this helps eliminate the tartness, while bringing out it’s more desirable flavours. Enjoy them whole or ground.

Watermelon, Goat Cheese and Nigella Sativa Seeds Salad

Try out this refreshing summer salad from Black Seed Cuisine, made special thanks to the addition of black seed.


  • 7 cups of watermelon chunks
  • Tablespoon chopped mint
  • 2 teaspoons of Nigella sativa seeds, dry-toasted in a pan
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons orange juice
  • salt and pepper


To make the dressing.
Put 1/2 cup of olive oil in a bowl and combine in 2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 4 teaspoons of orange juice.
Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
To make the salad. Place the chunks of watermelon on a large platter.
Top with the crumbled goat cheese and the mint.
Toss lightly.
Sprinkle the dressing all over the salad lightly. NB You may not use all the dressing.

Recipe credit:

Hab Shifa Black Seed Products – Nature’s Divine Secret. Find out more:

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