Black cumin or Nigella is widely used in Indian cuisines, particularly in mildly braised lamb dishes such as korma. This spice is not be confused with Shahi Jeera (imperial cumin).
Nigella seeds are sprinkled on to naan bread before baking. It is also added to vegetable and dal dishes as well as in chutneys. Nigella is an ingredient of some garam masalas and is one of the five spices in the Bengali spice mixture panch phoran.
The seeds have little bouquet, though when rubbed they give off an aroma reminiscent of oregano. The flavour is lightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture. The seeds may be used whole or ground and are usually fried or roasted before use.