This is a simple recipe for roasted potatoes that features the Bengali spice, nigella. This has been one of my potluck favorites for many years, it is always a smash success. The beauty of it is how simple it is to make, while featuring a less common spice. For the un-initiated, nigella has a slight onion-ny flavor and provides a little bit of crunch to these potatoes.
About this Recipe
This is one of those recipe you have to ask, can it be any simpler? The ingredients are simply nigella, potatoes, garlic and a little oil and salt. That’s because I came up with this dish years ago when I was paying around with nigella for something else and on a whim I put this together. I just wanted to make something that would really highlight the nigella.
It was sort of like a happy accident because I didn’t expect much from it at the time, but what I got was something amazing. This forms a delicious little snack food that makes a great appetizer, or it can easily be served as a side next to a hearty meal. It will go great as part of a trio of vegetables, or as a complement to a meaty dish.
- Try to find the smallest potatoes you can to make this if your potatoes are a little bit bigger, lower the temperature to 425°F to avoid over-browning of cut potatoes.
- You can also over-browning by not having the cut-side down until the last 5-10 minutes.
- If you don’t want to add garlic you can leave it out
- Add other spices like cumin seeds and paprika. If you add paprika, add it at the end, after the potatoes are cooked, but while they are still hot. That way, the paprika won’t burn, and you will still avoid the raw paprika taste.
- Roast with onions
This is a versatile dish that can be used as a side or as an appetizer. You can serve it with meat or vegetables. It would go great next to some Baked Tandoori Chicken Wings, as well as roasted vegetables like Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Salad.
Roasted nigella potatoes will do well in the refrigerator or freezer. You can refrigerate them for up to 4 days, and freeze them for up to 5 months.
Reheat by putting it back in the oven for a few minutes (3-5 minutes) or in the microwave.
Nigella Roasted Potatoes
- 1 ½ pounds baby potatoes
- 1 ½ tsp nigella aka kalonji or onion seed
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and smashed with the side of knife
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 3 Tbsp avocado oil (or any neutral high smoke point oil)
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
- In a small bowl, mix the smashed garlic cloves and oil. Let the garlic flavor the oil for about 10 minutes. This is a good time to scrub and rinse the potatoes.
- Once the 10 minutes up, remove the garlic cloves from the oil and discard.
- If your potatoes are larger than 1 inch in diameter, cut them into half or quarters to approximate this size for even cooking.
- Toss the potatoes, oil, nigella, black pepper and salt into a large sheet pan. Mix well using your hands, making sure that the oil and spices are coating each potato. Massage the salt and spices into the potatoes for a few seconds.
- Roast in the oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. Stir about halfway through the cooking. If you're using larger potatoes, watch the cut sides as they tend to get browner faster and I would recommend stirring the potatoes every 10 minutes.
(Originally published December 1, 2013, with major rewrite January 23, 2023)