Seeds: Sesame and Nigella
Posted by terrepruitt on March 30, 2016
My favorite recipe as of late called for white sesame seeds and Nigella seeds. Now I know what sesame seeds are, but I didn’t know there were black/brown ones. I didn’t know what Nigella seeds were and the recipe even noted that they might be hard to find so black sesame, black cumin, or onion seeds could be used as a substitute. But I found them easy enough on Amazon, but they were listed under several different names. And when I googled them, even more names came up. I love this recipe enough I can see myself using all the seeds just for this, but if not I was curious what else I could use them in.
I know that sesame seeds are used in a lot of dishes, but I don’t normally use them. According to Nutrition and You they have been used in “traditional medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and curative properties and are an important source of phyto-nutritents.” Sesame seeds are high in protein, and like all seeds and nuts they are also high in fat. But it is thought that this fat is actually one of the better ones in that it has been shown to lower the LDL cholesterol and raise the HDL cholesterol. The USDA National Nutrient data base has the pictured information listed for “Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried”.
You are probably familiar with sesame seeds because they are used in many things. For one they are famous a top a bun, yes? They are also what makes up Tahini which is an ingredient in humus. They are used in so many things it is almost as if they go unnoticed.
Now this nigella seed, what it up with that? Well, Wiki helps a bit with the names by stating “In English, Nigella sativa and its seed are variously called black-caraway, black-cumin, fennel-flower, nigella, nutmeg-flower, Roman-coriander, and kalonji (from Hindi).” As I mentioned the recipe I made said you could us black cumin as a substitute, but according to what I have seen on the internet (included Wiki) black cumin is just another NAME for nigella seeds. It seems that this seed just has a lot of names.
Just like the sesame seed, there are claims that the nigella seed helps lower LDL. Claims also include they help to lower blood pressure, have anti-asthmatic effects, relieve viral sore throats, protect the brain against radiation damage, help reduce the possibility of morphine addiction, reduce symptoms of chemical weapons exposure, helps prevent post-surgical scars of the a thin, delicate sheet that lines the inside wall of the abdomen and covers the uterus and extends over the bladder and rectum (the peritoneum), protect neurons, slow the spread of cervical cancer, and, as a topical, helps with psoriasis.
Internet information refer to it as the “cure all for everything but death”. And it sure sounds like it with all of the aforementioned information that was found on NaturalSociety from a post from 2013. I hadn’t even mentioned the info on the first part of the post stating that is it thought to help people with Type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, colon cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and oral cancer. AND . . . (yes there is more) help protect against damage to the heart from heart attacks, and also treat MRSA! Wow. And to think I had never even heard of the stuff.
This is the type of seed that can be added to many dishes. The recipe I made called for it to be sprinkled on the pan so it stuck to the outside of the cake while baking. But I really liked the flavor of both the seeds so I plan on putting some on top, if not inside. I think inside the cake they would not get the same toastiness that they did on the outside of the pan. But I can see adding them to other things. I will add it to vegetables as I cook them and then on top when I serve them. I might put some on my sandwiches. They will probably add a nice extra layer of flavor. Oooo. I can’t wait to try that.
Seems like the benefits thought to be held in those little seeds are worth adding them to everything.
Do you cook with nigella seeds? What about sesame seeds?