Kala Namak / Black Salt

Kala Namak / Black Salt

Whole Kala Namak salt crystals

Kala Namak or Himalayan Black Salt (Urdu کالا نمک; Bengali Biit lobon (বিট লবণ); Newari Be Chi; Nepali Birae Nun (बिरे नुन) ; Hindi काला नमक   Marathi काळं मीठ ;kālā namak; Gujarati સંચળ Sanchal; Tamil இந்துப்பு; Malayalam ഇന്തുപ്പ്) also known as sulemani namak, black salt, or kala loon, is a type of rock salt, salty and pungent-smelling condiment used in South Asia. The condiment is composed largely of sodium chloride with several other components lending the salt its colour and smell. The smell is mainly due to its sulphur content. Due to the presence of Greigite (Fe3S4, Iron(II,III) sulfide) in the mineral, it forms brownish pink to dark violet translucent crystals when whole, and, when ground into a powder, it is light purple to pink in color.

Production

The raw material for producing kala namak was originally obtained from natural halite from mines in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in certain locations of the Himalayas salt ranges, or from salt harvested from the North Indian salt lakes of Sambhar or Didwana and Mustang of Nepal

Traditionally, the salt was transformed from its raw natural forms into commercially sold kala namak through a reductive chemical process that transforms some of the naturally occurring sodium sulphate of the raw salt into pungent hydrogen sulfide and sodium sulfide. This involves firing the raw salts in a furnace for 24 hours while sealed in a ceramic jar with charcoal along with small quantities of harad seeds, aamla, bahera, babul bark, or Sajji. The fired salt is then cooled, stored, and aged prior to sale. Kala namak is prepared in this manner in Northern India with production concentrated in the Hisar district, Haryana. The salt crystals appear black in colour, and are usually ground to a fine powder which is pink in colour.

Although the kala namak can be produced from natural salts with the required compounds, it is common to now manufacture it synthetically. This is done through combining ordinary sodium chloride admixed with smaller quantities of sodium sulphate, sodium bisulphate and ferric sulphate, which is then chemically reduced with charcoal in a furnace. Reportedly, it is also possible to create similar products through reductive heat treatment of sodium chloride, 5-10 percent of sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate, and some sugar.

Composition

Kala namak consists primarily of sodium chloride and trace impurities of sodium sulphate, sodium bisulfate, sodium bisulfite, sodium sulphide, iron sulfide and hydrogen sulfide.

Sodium chloride provides kala namak with its salty taste, iron sulphide provides its dark violet hue, and all the sulphur compounds give kala namak its slight savory taste as well as a highly distinctive smell, with hydrogen sulphide being the most prominent contributor to the smell. The acidic bisulfates/bisulfites contribute a mildly sour taste. Although hydrogen sulphide is toxic in high concentrations, the amount present in kala namak used in food is small and thus its effects on health are negligible: Hydrogen sulphide is also one of the components of the odor of rotten eggs and boiled milk.

Indian Black Salt

Indian black salt has been used as a condiment for many hundreds of years in Asian countries surrounding the Himalayan mountains. It was originally obtained from either natural volcanic mines in Northern India and Pakistan or the surrounding salt lakes of Sambhar or Didwana.

Potential Health Benefits

Indian black salt is considered a cooling spice in ayurvedic medicine and is recommended for many health issues such as constipation, indigestion, heartburn, bloating, flatulence, goiter, poor eyesight and hysteria, according to the book “Herbs that Heal.” In India, black salt is sometimes recommended to people on low-salt diets due to hypertension because it’s believed to be lower in sodium content compared to regular table salt. Of course, the composition of Indian black salt varies quite a bit and depends mainly on whether it’s manufactured using traditional or modern techniques. Synthetically made black salt has a sodium content very near to regular table salt. Discuss your salt options with your doctor if you have high blood pressure.

Uses

 

Kala Namak is used extensively in South Asian cuisines of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan as a condiment or added to chaats, chutneys, salads, all kinds of fruits, raitas and many other savory Indian snacks. Chaat masala, an Indian spice blend, is dependent upon black salt for its characteristic sulfurous hard-boiled egg aroma. Those who are not accustomed to black salt often describe the smell as similar to rotten eggs. Kala Namak is appreciated by some vegans in dishes that mimic the taste of eggs. It is used, for example, to season tofu to mimic an egg salad.

Kala Namak is considered a cooling spice in ayurvedic medicine and is used as a laxative and digestive aid. It is also believed to relieve intestinal gas and heartburn. It is used in Jammu to cure goiters. This salt is also used to treat hysteria, and for making toothpastes by combining it with other mineral and plant ingredients.

Cooking Benefits

Indian black salt is used extensively on Indian food, including chutneys, yogurts, pickles, salads and all kinds of fruits. It’s often appreciated by strict vegans because it mimics the taste of eggs in tofu and other vegetarian dishes. During the hot Indian summer months, it’s also sometimes used to flavor cool drinks, which is a practical way to replace sodium lost through excessive perspiration.

Ref. http://www.livestrong.com/article/557587-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-indian-black-salt/

Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kala_Namak

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

 

Sesame -Seeds

Sesamum indicum - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-129.jpgSesamum indicum 2.jpg

Kingdom: Plantae      (unranked): Angiosperms  (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids

Order:   Lamiales Family: Pedaliaceae Genus: Sesamum Species: S. indicum

Sesame (/ˈsɛsəm/; Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods.

Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesame has many species, most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sesame Indicum, the cultivated type, originated in India. Sesame is highly tolerant to drought like conditions, and grows where other crops may fail.

Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other nuts and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

The world harvested about 4.8 million metric tonnes of sesame seeds in 2013.The largest producer of sesame seeds in 2013 was Myanmar.The world’s largest exporter of sesame seeds was India, and Japan the largest importer.

Flower of Sesamum indicum

Sesame in Panchkhal valley, Nepal

Magnified image of white sesame seeds

It is an annual plant growing 50 to 100 cm (1.6 to 3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (1.6 to 5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (0.4 in) broad on the flowering stem.

The flowers are yellow, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth. The flowers may vary in colour with some being white, blue or purple.

Sesame fruit is a capsule, normally pubescent, rectangular in section and typically grooved with a short triangular beak. The length of the fruit capsule varies from 2 to 8 cm, its width varies between 0.5 to 2 cm, and the number of loculi from 4 to 12. The fruit naturally splits open (dehisces) to release the seeds by splitting along the septa from top to bottom or by means of two apical pores, depending on the varietal cultivar. The degree of dehiscence is of importance in breeding for mechanised harvesting as is the insertion height of the first capsule.

Sesame seeds are small. The size, form and colours vary with the thousands of varieties now known. Typically, the seeds are about 3 to 4 millimeters long by 2 millimeters wide and 1 millimeter thick. The seeds are ovate, slightly flattened and somewhat thinner at the eye of the seed (hilum) than at the opposite end. The weight of the seeds is between 20 and 40 milligrams. The seed coat (testa) may be smooth or ribbed.

Sesame seeds come in many colours depending on the cultivar harvested. The most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray and black.

Sesame seed is sometimes sold with its seed coat removed (decorticated). This is the variety often present on top of buns in developed economies.

Sesame seeds nutrition facts

One of the first oil seeds known to humankind, sesame seeds have been widely employed in culinary as well as traditional medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and curative properties. Sesame are an important sources of phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber with potential anti-cancer as well as health promoting properties.

Sesame plant is a tall annual herb in the Pedaliaceae family, which grows extensively in Asia, particularly in Burma, China, and India. It is also one of the chief commercial crops in Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia. Scientific name: Sesamum indicum.

Sesame requires well-drained sandy soil and tropical environment to flourish. It grows about 5 feet in height and bears plenty of pink-white foxglove type flowers. The pods appear soon, containing white, brown, or black seeds depending upon the cultivar type, arranged in rows inside. Each pod (2-5 cm in length) is a long rectangular box like capsule with deep grooves on its sides. A single pod (1 to 2 inches in length) may contain up to 100 or more seeds.

Sesame seeds are small, almost oblate in shape. Toasted seeds feature pleasant, nutty flavoror.

Health benefits of sesame seeds

  • Flavorful, crunchy sesame seeds are widely considered healthy foods. 100 g of seeds carry 573 calories. Although, much of its calorie comes from fats, sesame contains several notable health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
  • The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which comprises up to 50% fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats help prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy lipid profile.
  • The seeds are also very valuable sources of dietary protein with fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 18 g of protein (32% of daily-recommended values).
  • In addition, sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol, and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins, and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
  • 100 g of sesame contains 97 µg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given to expectant mothers during their peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.
  • Niacin is another B-complex vitamin found abundantly in sesame. About 4.5 mg or 28% of daily-required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin helps reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
  • The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.

Just a hand full of sesame a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), whole, dried,
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 573 Kcal 29%
Carbohydrates 23.45 g 18%
Protein 17.73 g 32%
Total Fat 49.67 g 166%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 11.8 g 31%
Vitamins
Folates 97 µg 25%
Niacin 4.515 mg 28%
Pantothenic acid 0.050 mg 1%
Pyridoxine 0.790 mg 61%
Riboflavin 0.247 mg 19%
Thiamin 0.791 mg 66%
Vitamin A 9 IU <1%
Vitamin C 0 0%
Vitamin E 0.25 mg 2%
Electrolytes
Sodium 11 mg 1%
Potassium 468 mg 10%
Minerals
Calcium 975 mg 98%
Copper 4.082 mg 453%
Iron 14.55 mg 182%
Magnesium 351 mg 88%
Manganese 2.460 mg 107%
Phosphorus 629 mg 90%
Selenium 34.4 µg 62.5%
Zinc 7.75 mg 70%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 5 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg

Selection and storage

Sesames can be readily available in the spice stores all around the year. You may choose from whole, husked or air-dried, toasted seeds in these stores. There may be black, brown, yellow or white color seeds packed in air-seal packs as well as in bulk bins. Husked seeds appear white.

Sesame composes significant proportions of unsaturated fats, and hence, should be stored in airtight containers to avoid them turn rancid. At home, place them in cool dark place. If stored properly, dry seeds generally stay fresh for several months. Store hulled “white” seeds always inside the refrigerator.

Avoid old, offensive smelling (rancid) seeds.

Culinary uses

Sesame seeds have a delicate nutty flavor. Their flavor indeed becomes more pronounced once they are gently roasted under low flame heat for a few minutes.

Sesame seeds are used liberally in cooking. The seeds ground with olive or any other vegetable oils to prepare semi-solid, flavorful paste, which is then added to different cuisine.

  • Dry, roasted sesame seeds and vegetable oil are ground into a thin light brown color paste known as tahini. Tahini is one of the main ingredients in famous middle-eastern dip, hummus.
  • Dry fried seeds sprinkled over toasts, biscuits, breads, cakes, salads, stir fries, etc.
  • The seeds are largely used in the manufacture of margarine in Europe.
  • The seeds are used in many traditional south-Indian sweet delicacies, often mixed with roasted peanuts, almonds, and jaggery.
  • Roasted and crushed seeds often sprinkled over salads, desserts, particularly sundaes and other cream based preparations.
  • Gomashio is a Japan’s specialty, which uses ground sesame seeds.
  • Sesame oil obtained from the seeds is one of the most sought after cooking oil in Malaysia, Indonesia and southern states of rural India.

Safety profile

Sesame seed allergy is a kind of hypersensitivity reaction in some sensitive individuals. Generally, the reactions include hives, dermatitis and itching. Sometimes, the disease manifestation may be severe and may lead to serious physical symptoms like vomiting, stomach pain, swelling of lips and throat leading to breathing difficulty, chest congestion, and death. It is, therefore, sesame products may be avoided as food in these individuals. 

Ref.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame

Ref.http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sesame-seeds.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

 

Black Pepper

Black pepper Image 1Black Pepper

Pepper is often described as the “king of spices,” and it shares a place on most dinner tables with salt. The word pepper originated from the Sanskrit word pippali, meaning berry. Pepper is now grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Kampuchea as well as the West coast of India, known as Malabar, where it originated.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning.

Pepper has been used as a spice in India since prehistoric times. Pepper is native to India and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BCE. Until well after the Middle Ages, virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa travelled there from India’s Malabar region. Little else is known about the use of pepper in ancient Egypt and how it reached the Nile from India.

The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper, the dried fruit of closely related Piper longum. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just “piper”.

Pepper (both long and black) was known in Greece at least as early as the 4th century BCE.Pepper (both long and black) was known in Greece at least as early as the 4th century BCE, though it was probably an uncommon and expensive item that only the very rich could afford. Trade routes of the time were by land, or in ships which hugged the coastlines of the Arabian Sea. Long pepper, growing in the north-western part of India, was more accessible than the black pepper from further south; this trade advantage, plus long pepper’s greater spiciness, probably made black pepper less popular at the time.

The hot taste sensation in pepper comes from a resin called chavicine in the peppercorns. Peppercorns also are the source of other heat-generating substances, including an alkaloid called piperine, which is used to add the pungent effect to brandy, and an oil that is distilled from the peppercorns for use in meat sauces.

As a natural medicinal agent, black pepper in tea form has been credited for relieving arthritis, nausea, fever, migraine headaches, poor digestion, strep throat, and even coma. It has also been used for non-medical applications as an insecticide. Of course, black pepper is a favorite spice of cooks because of its dark color and pungent aroma and flavor.

White pepper is also commonly used and is popular among chefs for its slightly milder flavor and the light color that compliments white sauces, mayonnaise, souffles, and other light-colored dishes. White pepper is also true pepper that is processed in the field differently than its black form.

A mixture of black and white peppercorns is called a mignonette. Ground pepper is also popular in mixes of spices. Kitchen pepper is called for in some recipes for sauces and includes salt, white pepper, ginger, mace, cloves, and nutmeg. Pepper, therefore, proves itself to be a versatile and essential ingredient in combination with other spices, as well as in solitary glory in the pepper mill.

Health Benefits:

Improve Digestion and Promote Intestinal Health

Black pepper (Piper nigrum)stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation.

Black pepper has long been recognized as a carminitive, (a substance that helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas), a property likely due to its beneficial effect of stimulating hydrochloric acid production. In addition, black pepper has diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and diuretic (promotes urination) properties.

Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.

How to Select and Store

Black pepper is available whole, crushed or ground into powder. To ensure best flavor, buy whole peppercorns and grind them yourself in a mill just before adding to a recipe. In addition to superior flavor, buying whole peppercorns will help to ensure that you are purchasing unadulterated pepper since ground pepper is oftentimes mixed with other spices. Whole peppercorns should be heavy, compact and free of any blemishes.

Even through dried herbs and spices like black pepper are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness than those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing black pepper try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated (among other potential adverse effects, irradiating black pepper may lead to a significant decrease in its vitamin C content.)

Black pepper should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Whole peppercorns will keep almost indefinitely, while ground pepper will stay fresh for about three months. Pepper can also be frozen although this will make its flavor more pronounced.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Cooking with Black Pepper:

Add pepper that you have freshly ground in a mill at the end of the cooking process. Since it loses its flavor and aroma if cooked for too long, adding it near the end will help to preserve its flavor.

How to Enjoy

A Few Quick Serving Ideas
  • Coat steaks with crushed peppercorns before cooking to create the classic dish, steak au poivre.
  • As the pungent taste of black pepper is a natural complement to the deep, berry-like flavor of venison, use it to flavor this meat when preparing venison steaks or venison stews.
  • Keep a pepper mill on your dining table so that you can add its intense spark to a host of different recipes that you prepare.
  • Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cracked pepper make a delicious salad dressing.
Black Pepper, whole peppercorns
2.00 tsp
5.80 grams
Calories: 15
GI: very low
Nutrient Amount DRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
manganese 0.74 mg 37 45.7 excellent
vitamin K 9.49 mcg 11 13.0 excellent
copper 0.08 mg 9 11.0 very good
fiber 1.47 g 6 7.3 very good
iron 0.56 mg 3 3.8 good
chromium 0.93 mcg 3 3.3 good
calcium 25.69 mg 3 3.2 good
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
good DRI/DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Black pepper

Ref. http://www.ancient.eu/Pepper/

Ref. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Pepper.html

Ref. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=74#healthbenefits

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

Bay Leaf

Bay leaves

Bay leaves

nutrition facts : Pleasantly aromatic bay leaf or bay-laurel is one of the well-recognized culinary leaf-spices in use since the earliest times.  In the legends, bay laurel is deemed as the tree of the Sun god, under the celestial sign of Leo.

Botanically, bay tree belongs to the family of Lauraceae, in the genus; Laurus. It is thought to have originated in Asia Minor region, from where it distributed to all over the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia.

Scientific name: Laurus nobilis.

The bay plant is a tall, conical, evergreen tree growing upto 30 feet in height. Yellow or greenish white, star-shaped flowers appear in clusters during early spring, which subsequently produce dark-green to purplish, single seeded berry. Its thick and leathery leaves feature elliptic, shiny, dark-green and measure about 3-4 inches in length.

Bay leaves give off a pleasing and sweet aroma when added to dish. Wilted and dried leaves indeed are strongly aromatic and can be stored for months. Its dried fruit (berries) can also be employed as a flavoring agent in the cuisines.

Health benefits of bay leaf:

  • Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks and the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolizes wisdom, peace, and protection.
  • The spice contains many notable plants derived compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • This spice has many volatile active components such as α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, α-terpineol, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and chavicol. These compounds are known to have been antiseptic, anti-oxidant, digestive, and thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Fresh leaves are very rich source of vitamin-C; provide 46.5 mg or 77.5% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant that help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Ascorbic acid also has immune booster, wound healing and anti-viral effects.
  • Furthermore, its fresh leaves and herb parts are very good in folic acid; contain about 180 mg or 45% of daily-recommended values per 100 g. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period, they can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Bay leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A; contain 6185 IU or 206% of recommended daily levels per 100 g. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for healthy visual sight. It is also required for maintaining mucus membranes and skin health. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A has been found to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The spice is indeed a very good source of many vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.
  • This noble spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes.

Medicinal uses of bay leaf:

  • Medicinally, the benefits of the bay leaf and its berries are plentiful. It has astringent, diuretic, and appetite stimulant properties.
  • Essential oil from the bay leaves contains mostly cineol (50%); furthermore, eugenol, chavicol, acetyl eugenol, methyl eugenol, α- and β-pinene, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol and terpineol are also found.
  • Infusions of herb parts are reputed to soothe the stomach and relieve flatulence and colic pain.
  • The lauric acid in the bay laurel leaves has insect repellent properties.
  • Bay laurel infusions are used to soothe the stomach ulcers and relieve flatulence.
  • The components in the essential oil can also be used in many traditional medicines in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and flu symptoms.

Selection and storage:

Traditionally, bay leaves are picked and dried slowly under the shade away from direct sunlight in order to retain volatile essential oils.

In the spice stores, one might come across different kinds of bay leaf preparations. Completely dried, dried and crushed, freeze-dried, and ground forms are displayed for sale in such stores. Buy from authentic sources and avoid those with off-smell, spots, or fungus infected leaves.

Once at home, store bay leaf in airtight jar or container and keep away from direct light. Its leaves should not be stored for longer than a year since they will then lose flavor.

Its dried fruits are also being used as a flavoring in dishes.

Culinary uses:

Glossy, dark-green bay leaves can be used fresh. However, they are at their best after being allowed to wilt under the shade for few days when their bitterness has gone but the leaves still retain their aroma.

If you find leaves in the cooked food, just keep them aside before eating. The laurel leaves are leathery in texture and tough to chew and swallow, besides being quite strongly flavored.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Bay leaf is one of the ingredients in bouquet garni along with thyme, sage, savory, celery, basil, etc.
  • The spice is also used in the preparation of court bouillon. Court bullion is readymade preparation made of water, salt, white wine, vegetable aromatics (onion and celery), and flavored with bouquet garni and black pepper.
  • Its dried leaves are brewed into an herbal tea.
  • Bay laurel is also an essential ingredient in many classic sauces such as bread sauce, tomato sauce, and béchamel.
  • Bay leaves are added to flavor cuisines such as seafood, poultry, meat, rice (pulov), and vegetable dishes.
  • Bay leaf is used to flavor sweet dishes like sweet breads, custards, creams, etc.

Safety profile

Bay leaves should be removed from the food before serving as they may cause choking, may cut tongue and injure digestive tract. Pregnant women should avoid eating in excess as the chemical compounds in them may cause abortion.
(Medical disclaimer: The information and reference guides on this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.)

Ref.http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/bay-leaf.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds   mustard-plant    Mustard plants 

Mustard seeds  

Scientific classification

Kingdom:             Plantae

Division:               Magnoliophyta

Class:     Magnoliopsida

Order:   Brassicales

Family: Brassicaceae

Mustard seed:Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 or 2 mm in diameter. Mustard seeds may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are important herbs in many regional foods. Wikipedia

Mustard seeds have been highly prized medicinal as well as spice being in use since earlier times. The seeds are fruit pods obtained from mustard plant in the Brassica family. Some of close members of mustards in this family include cabbage, broccoli, brussels-sprouts, etc. Scientific name: Brassica juncea.

Mustard seeds are native to Asia Minor, but these days cultivated as one of the main commercial crop in Canada, India, China, and temperate climates of European region.

Mustard seeds are winter crops. The plant reaches about 4-5 feet in height and bears golden yellow colored flowers. Its tiny, round seeds measuring about one mm in diameter is encased inside a fruit pod in a similar fashion like green pea pod.

In general, three main varieties of mustard are grown worldwide for use.

White mustard seeds (Brassica alba): The seeds are light straw yellow colored and are slightly larger than the other two varieties. White seeds exhibit mild pungency.

Black mustard seeds (Brassica nigra): The seeds are commonly seen in South Asia. The seeds are sharp and more pungent than other two varieties.

Brown mustard seeds (Brassica juncea): The seeds are native to sub-Himalayan plains of Northern India.

Health benefits of mustard seeds:

  • Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
  • Being one of the chiefoil seeds, mustards are indeed very high in calories; 100 g of seeds provide 508 calories. Nonetheless, the seeds are made of quality proteins, essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
  • The seeds are high inessential oils as well as plant sterols. Some of important sterols include such asbrassicasterol, campesterol, sitosterol, avenasterol and stigmasterol. Some of glucosinolate and fatty acids in the seeds include sinigrin, myrosin, erucic, eicosenoic, oleic, and palmitic acids.
  • Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essentialB-complex vitamins such as folates, niacin,thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitaminB-6), pantothenic acid. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.
  • 100 g of mustards provide 4.733 mg ofniacin (vitamin B-3). Niacin is a part of nicotinamide co-enzymes, helps lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Mustard seeds contain flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lutein. In addition, the seeds compose a small amount of vitamin anti-oxidants such as vitamin A, C, and vitamin K.
  • The seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E,gamma tocopherol; contain about 19.82 mg per 100 g (about 132% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Mustards are rich source of health benefitingminerals. Calcium, manganese, copper, iron, selenium and zinc are some of the minerals especially concentrated in these seeds. Calcium helps build bone and teeth. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Mustard seeds (Brassica juncea),
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 508 Kcal 25%
Carbohydrates 28.09 g 21%
Protein 26.08 g 46%
Total Fat 36.24 g 121%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 12.2 g 32%
Vitamins
Folates 162 µg 40%
Niacin 4.733 mg 30%
Pantothenic acid 0.810 mg 16%
Pyridoxine 0.397 mg 31%
Riboflavin 0.261 mg 20%
Thiamin 0.805 mg 67%
Vitamin A 31 IU 1%
Vitamin C 7.1 mg 12%
Vitamin E-γ 19.82 mg 132%
Vitamin K 5.4 µg 4%
Electrolytes
Sodium 13 mg 1%
Potassium 738 mg 16%
Minerals
Calcium 266 mg 27%
Copper 0.645 mg 71%
Iron 9.21 mg 115%
Magnesium 370 mg 92%
Manganese 2.448 mg 106%
Selenium 208.1 µg 378%
Zinc 6.08 mg 55%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 18 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 508 µg

Selection and storage

Whole mustard seeds have no smell at all. The hot pungent taste of mustard is released when the seeds are crushed and mixed with water due to activation of enzyme myrosinase. In the spice stores one may find all varieties of whole seeds, ground seeds, pastes and different mustard sauces.

Whole, dry mustards keep well for months at room temperature when stored in cool, dry and humid free conditions. However ground seeds and other preparations of mustards should be kept in tight, air seal containers and placed inside the refrigerator for a prolonged shelf life.

Culinary uses:

Mustards are used extensively in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, Mediterranean and German cooking. Whole seeds, ground or powdered form, prepared pastes, sauces and oil are all used in cooking.

The aroma and pungent flavor of mustards come from the essential oil, sinalbin. This compound releases isothiocyanate chemicals upon enzymatic reaction mediated by myrosinase.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Mustards exude pungent nutty flavor when gently roasted under low flame.
  • Brown as well white mustard seeds are used in pickling with raw mango,bitter gourd, etc, in India.
  • Mustard fish curry, prepared with thin mustard paste,coriander powder,chilies and nigella is popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal in Indian subcontinent.
  • Different kind of mustard seeds uses mustard seeds mixed withherbs, spices, honey, tomato, etc., in many parts of the world.
  • Mustard paste is used in salad dressings, sandwiches, and hot dogs and in mayonnaise.
  • American mustard is prepared with white seeds, vinegar, spices,turmeric and sugar.
  • Mustard oil is used in many North Indian and Pakistani recipes.

Safety profile:

In general mustard seeds and its oil consider being safe for human consumption when used in small amounts. Large quantity of mustard may cause gastric irritation, bleeding from stomach and intestinal mucosa. It may cause skin burn when applied over skin for longer time. Erucic acid in musatrds has been found to have possible genotoxic and carcinogenic effects in laboratory animal studies.
(Medical disclaimer: The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.)

  Ref.http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/mustard-seeds.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

Cardamom

Black Cardamom    green cardamom  Madagasaker cardamoms

Black Cardamoms                     Green Cardamoms                Madagascar Cardamoms

History
The origin of cardamom can be traced back to as early as 4th century BC in the monsoon forests of the Western Ghats in southern India. Today, this area is known as the Cardamom Hills, and until 200 years back, this area produced most of the world’s cardamom. The cardamom fruits have been in trade in India for more than 1000 years. They had been in print in the medical compendium Charaka Samhita between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD. What’s more, it is also mentioned in the Sanskrit texts, Taitirriya Samhita of the 4th century BC. During the same time, the Greeks began importing cardamom from the East. While the inferior grades were called amomon, the superior grades were named kardamomon. Eventually, the Romans started importing substantial quantities of cardamom from India and regarded them as one of the most popular oriental spices in the Roman cuisine. Most of the cardamom was supplied from the evergreen monsoon forests of southern India and Sri Lanka. In 1903, cardamom plantation was abolished due to excessive production in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, which led to low prices. The British colonies spread the plantation of cardamom in other parts of India as a secondary crop. Today, cardamom is largely used as an aromatic spice in Eastern, Arab and some Scandinavian cuisines.

Main Name: Cardamom
Biological Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Hindi Name: Chhoti ilaichi, Elaichi, Hari ilaichi
Names in other Indian languages: Yelakkai, Elakkai (Tamil), Elathari (Malayalam), Yealak kayulu, Elakkayi (Telugu), Elaychi (Gujarati), Choto elach (Bengali), Velchil, Veldoda (Marathi), Alaichi (Oriya), Hari ilaichi, Elaichi, (Punjabi), Elaichi, Choti alaichi (Urdu)

Cardamom, botanically known as Elettaria cardamomum, hails from the family of Zingiberaceae, or ginger. Three types of cardamom are found – green cardamom, brown cardamom and Madagascar cardamom.

Cardamom is native to the evergreen forests of India,the Middle East and North Africa. This spice is commonly used in Indian cuisine, highly valued for its pleasant aroma, slightly pungent taste, and warm sensation.

Cardamom isn’t just tasty, it’s healthy, too.It’s good adding cardamom to your food for the flavor alone, health benefits of the spices are also there. It is considered as ‘Queen of Spices’ . Due to the aromatic fragrance it exudes, gorgeous and mouth-watering delicacies are prepared with it . Referred by the names ‘Grains of Paradise’, ela, elachi, and elaichi amongst several others, cardamom is a versatile spice that adds an equally delicious and aromatic flavor to both pungent and sweet dishes. Grind the seeds into powder, or use whole pods; cardamom adds the right flavor to any delicacy, particularly when cracked a little just before being tossed in the preparations. Taste improves of any meal by adding this lovely spice. This Spices is the second largest consumed spice in the world, after black pepper, and world’s second most expensive spice, after the saffron.

With several essential nutrients and natural minerals present in cardamom, the health benefits and medicinal qualities are numerous.  and glance through the following sections to discover the health benefits cardamom has to offer.

Health Benefits of Cardamom:

  • The high concentration of lenoleic acid improves blood circulation in the lungs by the blood thinning action; hence cardamom is beneficial for relieving the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
  • Oral administration of cardamom seeds is known for inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, with rare cases of completely destroying the cells.
  • Regular consumption of cardamom treats high cholesterol levels and reduces high blood pressure; thus, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Due to its natural anti-bacterial property, cardamom helps in neutralizing dental bacteria, thereby fighting bad breath and other oral health issues.
  • An infusion of cardamom and cinnamon is used for curing pharyngitis, sore throat, uvula relaxation and hoarseness during the infective stage of influenza.
  • Cardamom has been highly effective in treating gastrointestinal problems, like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, upset stomachs and flatulence.
  • Due to its anti-spasmodic properties, cardamom helps in preventing spasms and convulsions.
  • Inflamed nerves and backaches have been known to be successfully treated with the application of cardamom oil or consuming cardamom seeds.
  • Cardamom boosts appetite in anorexic patients, a disorder characterized by excessive weight loss. Consuming cardamom increases hunger pangs, thereby helping in the recovery process.
  • Cardamom stimulates the natural process of detoxification through sweating and urination, thereby purifying the entire body and strengthening the kidneys and urinary system.
  • By reducing the air and water elements, cardamom relieves stomach dyspepsia, cures indigestion and soothes the mucus membrane. As such, the gas and heartburn caused by garlic and onion is effectively relieved by cardamom.
  • Cardamom, when mixed with banana leaf powder and amla juice, is an excellent diuretic for treating gonorrhea (inflammation of the urethra or vagina), cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) and burning or infrequent urination.
  • Cardamom, when added to tea, gives a pleasant aroma, which serves as an effective remedy for depression.
  • It has stimulating effects that secretes various enzymes and hormones, gastric juices, peristaltic motion, circulation and excretion; thereby maintaining proper metabolism.
  •  When combined with honey and other spices, cardamom acts as an effective cure for laryngitis and tuberculosis.
  • Cardamom acts as a natural health tonic, when taken at bedtime, diluted with milk and honey. Besides, it is effective in preventing memory loss.

How many calories in cardamom (per 100 gm)
Cardamom has about 311 calories per 100 gm of weight.
How to Buy Cardamom

  • Cardamom is available as whole pods and in powdered forms in the market all round the year.
  • You can easily find both varieties of cardamom. ‘Elettaria’ pods are small and light green in color, while ‘Amomum’ pods are larger and dark brown.
  • To check the freshness of the pods, scratch the pod with your fingertip. In case it gives off a sweet aroma, the pod has passed the test.
  • Do not buy pods that are light in color and have stains, spots or molds.

Cardamom Storage Tips

  • Always store cardamom pods in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place.
  • When placed in the refrigerator, cardamom pods retain their freshness for longer durations.
  • Powdered cardamom should always be kept in a tightly sealed container and should be used at the earliest as it tends to lose its flavor quickly.

Tip: Chew on elaichi  regularly after every meal. The best way to keep acidity at bay is to avoid sitting right after you have eating; instead walk around a bit while chewing on the elaichi pod and you should feel much better.

If you suffer from indigestion this tip is for you. Take a two to three pods of cardamom, a small piece of ginger, a few pieces of cloves and a few dhania seeds. Grind them well and eat this with warm water. It acts as an instant remedy for indigestion, bloating and gas.

Another great remedy for headaches caused due to indigestion is to make cardamom tea. All you need to do is infuse it into some regular green tea and drink it while it’s warm. This mixture works well right at the onset of the symptoms of indigestion.

If you have a cold, cough or a congested chest , elaichi is the best natural remedy to relieve the symptoms.  All you need to do is add a few drop of elaichi’s essential oil to your vessel of steaming water during steam inhalation.

Cardamom culinary uses :

Cardamom spice is a highly aromatic spice that is most commonly used in Eastern, Arab, and some Scandinavian cuisines. Its unique slightly sweet and savory flavor allows it to be combined with both sweet and savory dishes.

Cardamom seed’s ability to enhance so many types of food is why it is a good combination with a wide range of other ingredients from seafood to sauces, to meats, poultry, vegetables, and even desserts, pastries, and other baked goods.

Numerous flavorful little cardamom seeds are encased within a single cardamom pod that are green in color when fresh. Cardamom spice has a complex flavor that can be described as slightly sweet, floral, and spicy with citric elements.

It leaves the tongue with a warm antiseptic sensation similar to eucalyptus with an additional peppery after taste. Some have described its flavor as spicy and cola-like. Grind cardamom from one of the whole forms of the spice to ensure a superior flavor and aroma, both of which are quickly lost when the spice is pre-ground.

Many traditional Indian dishes feature different varieties of cardamom. Elettaria, or green cardamom, is combined with condensed milk and sugar to make sweets collectively referred to as mithai. Green cardamom is also used to flavor coffee and teas, most notably Masala chai.

Since culinary connoisseurs consider green cardamon the premium variety, it is commonly used to flavor meats, poultry, seafood, vegetable dishes, soups and sauces. In contrast, Amomum, or black cardamom, imparts a slightly mint-like flavor and is an ingredient in garam masala, a seasoning blend used to flavor curries and rice dishes.

Ground cardamom is convenient to have for baking and other applications where the spice needs to be ground. Freshness and thus flavor are of course compromised when cardamom is pre ground because it loses flavor soon after grinding. To appreciate cardamom’s true flavor we suggest grinding it before use in a spice mill, electric coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.

White cardamom that was commonly available in the North America and Europe had been bleached to achieve its color, or lack of it. It is used in baking and some desserts because its color helps keep light colored batters, sauces, and confections speck free. The bleaching process also destroyed much of the cardamom’s flavor leading to white cardamom’s decline in popularity.

Ref. http://recipeclout.india-server.com/cardamom.html

Ref. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-green-cardamom-for-skin-hair-and-health/

Ref. http://recipeclout.india-server.com/cardamom.html

Ref. http://www.cardamomspice.com/#order

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

Kalonji/Nigella Seeds

Kalongi kalongi bottle

What is Kalonji?

Kalonji is a herb, producing blue flowers and black seeds,  from which Kalonji oil is extracted.The half meter bush is, in fact, originated in Turkey and Italy.Kalonji black seeds are being eaten for centuries in the Gulf countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.It is abundantly found in these areas. Kalonji oil is used in food in many parts of the world, especially the Middle-East. The plant is given more importance in the Middle-East and Muslim world as Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.) said that Kalonji, the black granules is the remedy for all diseases except death, according to Hazrat Abu Hurerah (R. A). Kalonji are small black seeds, also known as nigella seeds.Kalonji seeds are about the same size as sesame seeds, though they have a more triangular instead of oval shape.

Kalonji Medicinal Composition

The seeds of Nigella sativa have many chemical compositions.

  • Volatile oil:  1.5%
  • Non Volatile Oil:  37.5%
  • Albumen Sugar
  • Organic acids
  • Glucoside

Kalonji in Different Languages

Kalonji is found throughout India. Kalonji is known by different names in different languages.  In English, Kalonji is known as Samal Fennel, the Hindi name of Kalonji is Kalonji or Mangralia; Kalonji is known Mogrel in Bengali, and in Gujarati it is called Kalonji.  In Malayalam, Kalonji’s name is Ell or Karum Jiragam and in Telugu it is called నల్ల సీడ్ Nalla sīḍ.

Culinary Uses

The seeds are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The dry-roasted nigella seeds flavor curries, vegetables and pulses. The black seeds taste like a combination of onions, black pepper and oregano, and have a bitterness to them like mustard seeds. It can be used as a “pepper” in recipes with pod fruit, vegetables, salads and poultry. Nigella seeds are also used in the dough of salty snacks like ‘ Samosa’ ,  ‘ Kachori’ , ‘Namkeen’ and in  Indian  ‘ Nan’.They may be added to any type of curry or stew, and to dal/Lentils. Kalongi /Nigella, little black seeds are appriciated for their nutlike, somewhat peppery taste. To make this taste most evident, kalonji may be roasted in a pan before using. Nigella is an essential ingredient in the Bengal mix of five whole spice seeds known as panch phora or panch puran. Added to cooking oil, the seeds impart a distinctive flavour. Nigella is also used for sprinkling over the popular bread, naan, and in rice and some curries.

Health Benefits of Black Seeds

Type 2 diabetes – Researchers found that just two grams daily of black seed could result in reduced fasting blood sugar levels, along with decreased insulin resistance, and increased beta-cell function in the pancreas.

Epilepsy –  Published in Medical Science Monitor, one study found black seed to be effective at reducing the frequency of seizures in children who resisted conventional treatment. Black seed indeed has anti-convulsive properties.

Colon Cancer – In cell studies, black seed has been found to have anti-cancer properties, inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells specifically. In one animal study, the seed was able to fight colon cancer in rats successfully with no observable side effects. The same obviously can’t be said for conventional cancer treatments.

MRSA – The deadly and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection known commonly as MRSA responded favorably to treatment with black seed in this study from the University of Health Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan

Protection Against Heart Attack Damage – An extract from black seed has been shown to possess heart-protective qualities, dampening damages associated with heart attacks and boosting overall heart health.

Storage

These can be kept in airtight containers.

Precaution

Nigella seeds lose their flavor in course of time so  it is advisable to keep a note of its packaging date.

Ref. http://www.gyanunlimited.com/health/kalonji-oil-benefits-and-uses-of-nigella-seeds/7888/

Ref. http://secretindianrecipe.com/about/nigella-seeds

Ref. http://naturalsociety.com/10-health-benefits-of-black-cumin-seed-nigella-sativa/

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.