The culinary nigella plant is native to Western Asia, the Middle East, and Southern Europe. It is grown primarily in India, where it is used extensively in the cuisine of all regions. It is used in many spice mixtures of the area. The nigella seeds are very small, black in color, with a lightly aromatic, peppery flavor. It can be used as a pepper substitute. Add to buttered vegetables (cabbage or zucchini) to give them an exotic flavor and crunchy texture. Rub seeds into steak before grilling. Also used to season bread in the Middle East.