Niger seed

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Niger seed the oil-yielding seed of Guizotia abyssinica, a plant of the same family as the sunflower, but smaller, about the size of a Michaelmas daisy. A native of E. Africa, tolerant of poor soil and low rainfall, it is cultivated in Ethiopia and also in India (under the Bengali name ramtil).

The seeds are eaten fried or incorporated in chutneys or made into little cakes. The oil they yield is similar to that from sunflower seeds, with a pleasantly nutty taste. It may be used as a substitute for ghee.