A member of the parsley family grown in northern India and parts of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, iran and Pakistan. The dark brown, crescent-shaped fruit is popularly known as black cumin, although there is some confusion about this since black cumin is sometimes used to refer to another spice, Nigella. Kala jeera is very popular in the Moghul Cuisine of northern India, where it replaces regular Cumin, also a member of the parsley family, in many dishes. Uncooked, the spice has a harsh, unpleasant, earthiness that dissipates and becomes nutty and slightly grassy and flowery when cooked. In Kashmir the root is sometimes eaten as a vegetable. Kala jeera, also known by a variety of names such as kala jira, Kashmiri jira, shahi jira and shahi zeera, is available in seed and ground forms. As with all seeds, herbs and spices, it should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. See also Spices; Seasoning Suggestions.
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