Nigella seed ( kalonji ) chutney – Kalojeera bortha

vegan kalonji chutney bengali

Have you experienced that dejavu moment?

You know you have tasted the dish but absolutely can find no connection. No way are you able to explain the who why what or when. This happens to me every time with kalonji, nigella seeds. I know for sure the flavour of kalonji was not from my parents cooking or from my in-laws. Both of them run far away from this ingredient, but, I find these nigella seeds very appetizing.
As discussed in an earlier post of Kalonji pulao, the nigella seeds have a mild oregano flavour with a mix of onion undernotes. Serious hard to describe the feel of it till you have tasted it.
Click here for kalonji pulao recipe.

Nigella seed relish

The kalonji chutney

I was flipping through my old notes that were stacked up in the old boxes, I discovered a little folded note. This was given to me by a college mate of mine where her mother had written how she made Kalojeera bortha (kalonji chutney). I am sure I was meant to be handed over to my mum. Obviously I did not give it to her. Many years later this is a delightful discovery that brought back these memories.
I am sure I never bothered about kalonji at that time now it makes such a difference. Having this recipe come up a few weeks back, I picked up some nigella seeds from grocery and proceeded to make my modified version of this recipe. A few tbsp of it has been added to my bottle of panchphoran and is ready to go this week. Here is a recipe suggestion with Panchphoran

Dal pitha , a recipe from Bihar.

To serve

The chutney is a Bengali recipe called Kalojeera chutney,  so we paired with steamed rice and our favourite stew, Dudh sukto. Try this combination, it is mild but every bite bursting with flavour. This was our Saturday brunch, Hope you could give it a try as well. Alternately, You could serve this with some rice crackers as canapes or some quick toast as an appetizer in the place of hummus.

Click here for the recipe – Dudh shuko

This recipe is my addition to the A- Z . This blogger group is a unique platform for us to explore various ingredients based on a common alphabet for that month. This time, for the Alphabet N, my ingredient is Nigella seeds. We have resumed working on this group after a few months of a break due to all the changes happening around us. It is been such a welcome to see this group active back again and continuing to inspire us to think out of the box.
Stay safe and enjoy your day.

Recipe challenge

Pin the recipe here for later use

Nigella seed , gluten free sidedish

vegan kalonji chutney bengali

Kalonji chutney

Nigella seed chutney
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, sidedish, Traditional
Cuisine Autumn, gluten free, Indian, One pot, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people


To fry and blend- wet

  • 2 tbsp mustard oil ( alternately, use olive oil )
  • 2 large Onion Sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric grated ( use turmeric powder if fresh root is not available)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves ( chopped)

to powder and blend - dry

  • 4-5 tbsp Nigella seeds (heaped)
  • 4-5 medium dry red chillies


  • In a heavy-bottomed pan dry roast the nigella seeds on low heat. As they start spluttering, add the red chillies and roast further.
  • Remove from heat when the red chillies are roasted and set aside.
  • Powder this mix into a fine blend using a spice mill.
    powdered nigella seed
  • Chop the onions, garlic and grate the turmeric
    onions and garlic
  • Add oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium.
  • Fry the garlic cloves and the onion, till golden brown.
    roasted onion
  • Then add the salt, coriander leaves and mix well.
  • Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  • Grind this mix to a smooth paste. Mix in the powdered nigella seeds and red chillies
  • The water from the onion should be enough to make it a thick paste, but if too dry you can use some water to mix in.
  • To serve, add a few more drops of mustard oil on to enhance the flavour.
  • Roll up the chutney into a ball and place on the serving platter. The recipe is ready to be served.
    Nigella seed relish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Niranjana Sankaranarayanan
3 years ago

I love this Nigella seed chutney. This is quite different from the chutney or thogayal we make at home. I too love the flavour of oregano & onion. So this must be a treat for me with hot rice & oil. Lovely share..

Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
3 years ago

I totally love how you discovered this recipe. What a eureka moment! I totally understand that feeling. Very interesting chutney this is… so high on the flavor of nigella seeds…

Shobha Keshwani
3 years ago

This is something new for me. Never tasted this anytime. Looks so delicious. I will make it

The Girl Next Door
3 years ago

Wow, such a unique recipe! I’m not sure if I would have thought of using nigella seeds in a chutney like this. It looks so delish! Would taste beautiful with some hot rice.

3 years ago

I first fell in love with nigella seeds when I discovered Panch Phoron and its has been a favourite ever since. I am sure this chutney celebrates this underrated spice.

Sujata Roy
3 years ago

Never tasted this kalojeera chutney. Sounds yummy and flavorful with hot steamed rice. Mustard oil will add an extra zing. I would love to try it sometime.

3 years ago

wow wow ! such a new dish to me.. we are all up for thogayals.. and this is a great one .. thanks for the share, Seema !

Poonam Bachhav
3 years ago

I do make dry chutney with Nigella seeds and we love it so I am sure even this version would-be a hit at my place. Would love to give it a try soon. Thanks for the share .

3 years ago

Chutney with kaloonji seeds sounds totally new. The Chutney must have been flavourful and tasted yum when paired with hot steamed rice. I’m bookmarking this recipe to try sometime.

Vidya Narayan
3 years ago

The chutney recipe is quite delicious and I love that its unique without the lentils (thogayal style). Would taste amazing with dal khichdi or dal rice and some ghee.

Mayuri Patel
3 years ago

Seema I know how you feel when you say you cannot describe the taste of nigella seeds. An interesting recipe using nigella seeds to make a chutney. Some recipes are meant to be prepared at the right time, the right moment.

3 years ago

This is something new and very interesting to try with nigella seeds. I am sure this will be great in taste and can be a great accompaniment with rice or even nachos.

Anshu Agrawal
Anshu Agrawal
3 years ago

Such a wonderful recipe. Never knew that chutney can also be made from nigella seeds. I am sure that the taste must be amazing with all those onion, garlic and fresh turmeric. Awesome share for the challenge 😊

3 years ago

That looks absolutely delicious! I’ve made many variation of chutney before but never a nigella one. I have used nigella seeds with fruits like mango and pineapple into chutney but never tried alone, will try this one too sometime.

3 years ago

Something new to try.. never tried chutney with nigella seeds. this looks quite inviting can be paired well with crackers or dosa and parathas alike.

3 years ago

Interesting and innovative chutney with nigella seeds. Looks so delicious. Would love to have it with hot rice and ghee.

3 years ago

Interesting post seema ! I have never tasted this kalonji chutney. This sounds yummy and flavorful with some hot steamed rice I think. use of mustard oil here is simply tempted me to make surely

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