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O For Onion Seeds - The Flavor Master

Today, I am going to talk about a spice that is tasted by all of us who have ever tasted an Indian pickle. This is also one flavoring agent to many other Indian dishes and its oil is highly useful as medicine to several diseases from common to critical. Ever noticed a small, black, drop-shaped spice that gives a distinct flavor to the Somasa Chutney?

O For Onion Seeds
O For Onion Seeds - Vibhu & Me
This tiny spice, that is an integral part of a typical Indian kitchen, is called Onion Seeds, Kala Jeera, Nigella Seeds or popularly known as kalaunji. I categorize onion seeds as one spice that somehow tricks us by its name. Though it is named as onion seeds, it belongs to the family of black cumin and not at all related to an onion plant. These are little black seeds that look like black sesame and often confuse me when it comes to their use in my kitchen.

Onion seeds taste a bit bitter but adding these to food fills the dish with a specific aroma, flavor and makes it look garnished in a tempting way. I have never tasted an Indian mango pickle which is not added to these seeds as a must part of its recipe. Besides, the onion seeds are also an inseparable part of samosas and kachoris the name of which is enough to get one mouth watered. The little black seeds are not just adding aroma and flavor to our food but also serving as a health agent to us.

History of Onion Seeds
There is no clear evidence regarding the very first use of onion seeds, these believed to be found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. In the Old Testament, and the Islam’s Mohammed is believed to quote that onion seeds are the cure to almost all types of ailments. It is also believed that these seeds were initially limited to the use as a taste enhancer and their medicinal benefits were recognized with time. These are grown mostly in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

Ayurvedic Benefits of Onion Seeds
In Ayurveda also the oil of onion seeds is a trusted remedy for diabetes, breathing problem, joint pain, skin ailments and indigestion. Treatment of cracked heels is very well done with the oil of onion seeds. It is believed that the onions seeds help us in keeping our most important organs like liver, heart and kidney health. In Islam also, the black onion seeds are regarded to be full of health benefits.

The black onion seeds and their oil is helpful in the treatment of several ailments from headaches to hair fall. This spice is also helpful in fighting with acne problems and soothes our heart health too. Basically, little onion seeds are full of vitamins and minerals. It contains enough amino acids, crude fiber, proteins, saponin, and crystalline nigellone. Besides, it also contains fatty acids, oleic acids, alkaloids, iron, sodium, potassium calcium and other such essential elements that are good for our health.

Dadi Maa Ka Nuskha
Take half a tablespoon Kalaunji (whole onion seeds) and swallow it with warm water to cure acidity and indigestion.

How to buy
You can easily find these black seeds on the shelf where whole spices are kept in a nearby store or supermarket. Being an old and commonly used Indian spice, onions seeds can be easily collected from any retail store if you name it as Kalaunji to help the shopkeeper identify.
(I am taking part in #BlogchatterA2Z and today’s letter is 'O'.)

You can read my other #BlogchatterA2Z posts here :
  1. A For Alkanet Root - A Magical Spice
  2. B For Black Salt - A Digestive Stimulant
  3. C For Cinnamon - God of Spices
  4. D for Dried Ginger - A More Beneficial Form of Ginger
  5. E For Edible Silver and Gold Foils
  6. F For Fennel Seeds - More Than A Mouth Freshener
  7. G for Green Cardamom - The Queen of Spices
  8. H For Holy Basil - The King of Herb
  9. I For Indian Gooseberry - A Super food
  10. J For Jaggery - A Medicinal Sugar
  11. K For Kalpasi - An Unknown Treasure 
  12. L For Long Pepper - An Underrated Spice
  13. M For Mace - The Cousin of Nutmeg 
  14. N For Nutmeg - The Pricey Spice

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