Spice Up Your Life

Explore a world of flavor from the comfort of your home. Each month we will explore new spices, their history, and how to use them. Kits can be picked up in the Library or curbside.

(While supplies last.)

September Feature: Nigella Seed

Coconut Rice with Nigella Seeds


  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Oil or Olive Oil

  • 4 Green Onions finely sliced

  • 2 Teaspoons of Black Nigella Seeds

  • 1 Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk

  • 1 & ¼ Cup Thai or Basmati Rice

  • 2 & ½ Cups Water

  • 1-Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes OR ½ Teaspoon Table Salt

  • Juice of 1 Lime (to taste)


Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan that has a lid. Boil your water in a separate pan. Add the green onions and Nigella seeds to the heavy-bottomed pan and cook for a minute or so. Stir in the rice, letting it get covered with oil, and thoroughly mixed with the black-dotted green shreds. Pour the coconut milk and water into the rice mixture. Add in the salt and stir. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then turn down the heat, and put the lid on. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff the rice with a fork as you add the lime juice to your liking.


Common Name: Black Nigella Seeds
Scientific Name: Nigella sativa
Additional Names: Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Kalonji


Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Romania) and Western Asia (Cyprus, Turkey, Iran, Iraq), but naturalized over a much wider area including Europe, Asia, and Africa.


The plant grows 8'' – 11'' tall with divided, linear (but not thread like) leaves. The flowers are a delicate and usually colored pale blue or white with 5 – 10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven untied follicles, each containing numerous seeds. These seeds are the spice we come to know as Black Nigella.


Archaeological evidence about the earliest cultivation of N. sativa dates back three millennia, with seeds found in several sites from ancient Egypt including Tutankhamen's tomb! The seeds themselves are slightly bitter in taste and are often used as a flavoring or spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Another common use for the seeds is to make black seed oil. Black seed oil is said to help rheumatoid arthritis, as a pain reliever, help to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar in diabetic patients, and help prevent proliferation of cancer cells, boost the immune system, and help in the treatment of asthma and respiratory problems.

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