Saturday, April 3, 2010

NIGELLA CILIARIS - Kezach risani - קצח ריסני

A week ago my husband came home from a trip to the Shomron with beautiful photos of Israeli wild spring flowers. One bright yellow flower was very special. I never saw it before and its beauty captured my eye and my senses. Wow, what kind of flower is this? - I asked him. Kezach, he said. Hm, I do know Kezach, I have it on my spice rack and I sprinkle it on bread. You mean THAT Kezach? Those black little seeds? He explained to me that this flower is indeed a sister of NIGELLA SATIVA, from where the black spice seeds come.

I did some research on the Internet and this is what I found: Both plants are from the RANUNCULACEAE (buttercup) family. Nigella derives from the latin word 'niger' which means black and refers to the black seeds. Ciliaris comes from cilium, eyelash and eyelid, aris is pertaining to, together it means: fringed with hair. 'Risim' in Hebrew are eyelashes!

This link is to a very informative site on the spice plant Nigella Sativa - sativa is latin and means: cultivated.

Black Seed (it is called many names, as you can read in the above link) is used as a spice in bread, sauces, cakes, pastries, cheeses and more.  Did you ever have Naan Bread in an Indian Restaurant?  That black stuff, looking like sesame, sprinkled on it? This is Black Seed, Kezach. It is even used in soap making. It is also used for medicinal purposes and according to the Islam Black Seed is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available, Mohammad himself stated that Black Seed can heal every disease, except death!

I found a recipe for bread with Black Seed on the Internet:

X-posted from Sustainable Apple Pie, an exploration with Israeli black cumin:
Kezach bread 2
2 cups water
1 package of dry yeast
1 (heaping) tbs. brown sugar
1.5 cups wheat semolina
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. black cumin
1 tbs. kosher salt
  1. Combine water (warm it up first), brown sugar, and yeast in mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes or until all yeast is dissolved and there is a foamy coating on the surface.
  2. Add wheat semolina, whole wheat flour, and cumin seeds. Mix well.
  3. Cover with damp dishtowel and let rise for one hour.
  4. Uncover after an hour and knead dough (if it is too gooey, add some extra whole wheat flour). Return it to bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 more minutes.
  5. Uncover and knead again, this time shaping it into a log-like form that fits your bread pan.
  6. Top with a sprinkling of kosher salt and cumin seeds, let rise for 30 more minutes while your oven heats up.
  7. Bake in oven at about 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped.
Serve warm or cold, tastes great with butter, cottage, cream cheese, and more. Also great toasted.


Dawn of LaTouchables said...

I'm going straight to the store and getting some of that black make this delicious-looking cake! Thank you for the idea!!!

Yael said...

Hi Dawn, in German this plant is called:
Bewimperter Schwarzkuemmel and the spice is called: Schwarzkuemmel or: Zwiebelsamen (falsely) or also just: Nigella


SpiceRack said...

Spice Rack
Well, its a must-try recipe. With so many things to do, I would find myself do this the easier way if the things needed are in one placed. Same as with spices having their own spice rack.

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