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Elwendia persica is a plant species in the family Apiaceae. It is related to cumin (Cuminum cyminum) and sometimes called black cumin, blackseed,, black caraway, and has a smoky, earthy taste. It is often confused with Nigella sativa (which is also called black cumin, blackseed, and black caraway), by which it is often substituted in cooking.
(Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov
Local names for that spice are kala zeera (काला ज़ीरा black cumin) or shahi zeera (शाहि ज़ीरा; imperial cumin) in Hindi, as syah zirah (سیاہ زیرہ; black cumin), kaala zirah (کالا زیرہ; black cumin), and zirah kuhi (زيره كوهی; mountain/wild cumin) in Urdu, zireh kuhi (زيره كوهی; wild cumin) in Persian, and siyoh dona (сиёх дона; black seed) in Tajiki, and in Malayalam sahajīrakaṁ (സഹജീരകം).
The commonly used Hindi term shahi zeera may be a distortion of syahi (black in Persian) zeera. However, in the Hindustani language, the term syahi also means "inky black". In Bengali, kalo zeera also means black cumin, but refers to Nigella, not E. persica. Nigella is widely used as a spice in Bengali food.
The plant bears small-sized seeds and one can pluck them once the plant is very dry. Not more than 5 to 8 g can be plucked from each plant, contributing to the high price of $2 per 10 g (1987 rates).
The seeds are most valued as a garnish to high value, very special Indian dishes; they should not be ground, as their flavor would be reduced.
- "Elwendia persica (Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov". Plants of the World Online. The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. n.d. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
- "Elwendia persica (Boiss.) Pimenov & Kljuykov". Global Diversity Information Facility. GBIF Secretariat. n.d. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
- "Bunium persicum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-03-13.
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