Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
rxrfrx

Kala Jeera

Recommended Posts

The other day I set out to make some roti and grabbed a recipe off the internet that called for 1/2 teaspoon of kala jeera (black cumin seed). I picked up a bag of the stuff from the local Indian grocery and started cooking without having tasted the seeds.

Before adding the seeds, I fried them in oil for a few seconds, as I normally would with spices.

I took a bite of one of the finish breads and it was far too bitter to eat. A taste of the plain seeds revealed that they're horribly, extremely bitter. Even after 10-20 seconds in hot oil, they retain a very bitter taste.

Is this normal? And how am I supposed to make them taste less bitter? Or are they supposed to be extremely bitter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Or are they supposed to be extremely bitter?

No.

Try buying from elswhere. Or perhaps you might get a sample from an Indian restaurant.


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try buying from elswhere. Or perhaps you might get a sample from an Indian restaurant.

Darn... these are Moho brand, and it's hard to find other brands around here... though there are plenty of Indian stores. I'll try another one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you looking for true black cumin, known as shahi or siyah jeera. These look like very fine and delicate cumin seeds, but have a different, more subtle flavor.

Or...Are you looking for nigella, which are called kalonji in Hindi and kalo jeera(black cumin, which is a misnomer) by the Bengalis. These are also sometimes called onion seeds because they look like onion seeds(little black teardrop shapes). These have an oregano/lemon pepper like flavor and are a bit astringent.

kalonji are often used in breads, but shahi jeera not so much....

Just wondering.

edward


Edited by Edward (log)

Edward Hamann

Cooking Teacher

Indian Cooking

edhamann@hotmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you looking for true black cumin, known as shahi or siyah jeera. These look like very fine and delicate cumin seeds, but have a different, more subtle flavor.

The thing I've got that's very bitter is black cumin. The seeds are like cumin but smaller. I'm familiar with nigella and this isn't it.

The recipe that calls for kala jeera is here: Missi Roti

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your recipe calls for both jeeras so this culprit is what you bought as Royal/Shahi Jeera. My Shahi Jeera is definitely not bitter so probably you have been unfortunate to have come across an anomaly.

A simple solution is to not use it at all and make the missi roti without it. There are many versions of missi roti and not all of them call for Shahi Jeera. I dont think you will miss(i) much. :biggrin:


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi...since we're onto this topic of shahi jeera, I wanted to ask you all in which recipes do you people use it (apart from biryani) ? I've got a packed lying at home since ages and I don't know what to do with it.

monika

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monika, I've found that it works well in a simple Jeera rice. As a solo performer it does well and tends to get overshadowed in other preparations.


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've occasionally seen siya-jeera translated as aniseed, but that's not correct, is it? Perhaps this might be a good time to try and agree on definitive translations for aniseed, fennel seed and caraway, all three of which get varying translations in Indian cookbooks. If we want to be really ambitious we could also tackle kalonji and radhuni?

Vikram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The other day I set out to make some roti and grabbed a recipe off the internet that called for 1/2 teaspoon of kala jeera (black cumin seed). I picked up a bag of the stuff from the local Indian grocery and started cooking without having tasted the seeds.

Before adding the seeds, I fried them in oil for a few seconds, as I normally would with spices.

I took a bite of one of the finish breads and it was far too bitter to eat. A taste of the plain seeds revealed that they're horribly, extremely bitter. Even after 10-20 seconds in hot oil, they retain a very bitter taste.

Is this normal? And how am I supposed to make them taste less bitter? Or are they supposed to be extremely bitter?

Hmmmm-- while I agree with the other suggestions here I am wondering if you overcooked it and that accounts for the bitter taste as does using too much. A little goes a long way....

let me know if that was possibly the case


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also...make sure your besan is fresh. If it is not it could taste quite terrible.


Edward Hamann

Cooking Teacher

Indian Cooking

edhamann@hotmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmmm-- while I agree with the other suggestions here I am wondering if you overcooked it

So raw and overcooked would both be equally bitter, but slightly cooked should taste nice? That seems weird.

And in what way would my besan taste bad if it were old? It certainly has a bit of a "funky" flavor to it, and it almost tastes like tea, but I didn't know if that was normal or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmmm-- while I agree with the other suggestions here I am wondering if you overcooked it

So raw and overcooked would both be equally bitter, but slightly cooked should taste nice? That seems weird.

And in what way would my besan taste bad if it were old? It certainly has a bit of a "funky" flavor to it, and it almost tastes like tea, but I didn't know if that was normal or not.

Overcooked and used in excess is bitter.


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote

So raw and overcooked would both be equally bitter, but slightly cooked should taste nice? That seems weird.

raw and overcooked being less than tasty isn't all that unusual...

Consider the humble squid...too little cooking or too much renders them into something akin to eating rubber bands...

But if cooked within "The Zone" they are tender and definitely delicious

:smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Consider the humble squid...

Consider too the less than humble minced garlic clove which begins quite harsh, mellows with a few seconds of cooking and then gets bitter if cooked too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Suvir Saran
      What role do they play in your Indian kitchen?
      Do you use it in other dishes you prepare? Maybe even outside of the Indian food realm.
      Do you find it easy to find Cilantro?
      What parts of cilantro do you use?
      How do you keep it fresh?
    • By bague25
      Which are the pickles you have in your pantry right now?
      Which are the ones you dream of?
      Any recipes? Any secrets? Any reading material?
      Please share - as Monica says Inquiring minds want to know...
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Sheel
      Goa being one of the popular cities of India is known for its local delicacies. These delicacies have been passed on from generation to generation, while some of them have continued to remain popular, some of them have lost their charm with the introduction of newer cuisines. Since the Portuguese entered Goa, they have had a strong influence on the local cuisine. A major turning point came when they introduced a variety of spices that changed their style of cooking completely. The Portuguese introduced plants like corn, pineapple,  papaya, sweet potato and cashews. One such example of a popular dish would be Pork Vindaloo. Goan food is a mix of hot and sour ingredients that make their seafood delectable. Kokum is one such ingredient which is known to be a tangy-sweet fruit. It is added in curries to render a sour taste and is often accompanied with seafood. Dried red chillies are one the most vital ingredients common among all the local delicacies that is either used in its whole form or ground into a fine paste. Since seafood is the soul of Goan food, it is preserved and relished in other forms too. Goan pickles are known to be quite famous. Prawn Balchao, a very famous prawn pickle prepared with dried red chillies is relished with a simple lentil curry and rice. Another delicacy is the Goan Para Fish made with mackerels, red chillies and goan vinegar. These are regular accompaniments with their routine meals. When talking about Goa, you cannot not mention their sausages. These mouth-watering and spicy sausages are made with pork and a variety of spices. Last but not the least, is the widely famous Goan bread, locally known as Poi. Leavened bread which is part of almost every meal and eaten with plain butter too. These ingredients make the cuisine extremely palatable and continue to make this cuisine stand out from the rest.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...