I learned how to make this soup during my monastic days while living in the Hare Krishna ashram in New York from my dear friend Vasudeva das. As my cooking has evolved  I've 'Ayurvedised' it with detox spices and made it my own. A few weeks ago I had some friends over for brunch and decided to make it.  Right before serving the soup I pan-fried some kalonji seeds in coconut oil and poured dollops of the oil mixed with the seeds on the soup. To my amusement it looked like caviar! My guest were delighted and the soup, in my opinion reached new heights! 

You may be asking what is Kalonji? People tend to confuse them with onion seeds or black sesame because of their color and shape. In reality they come from a plant botanically called Nigella sativa.

Scientific studies have shown that Nigella sativa helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders. Also anticancer activity in prostate and colon cancers, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

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According to Ayurveda, rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions in the body generally occur due to the accumulation of excess fluid deposits, salt, calcium deposits, improper blood circulation and "AMA" toxic remains from improper digestion. This is mainly caused by the excess of kapha dosha leading to water retention, sluggishness, swelling, pain and inflammation. With its hot potency and warming qualities, Nigella oil is an excellent Ayurvedic remedy for reducing excess kapha deposits.

You can find these pretty little seeds in asian markets or online! Their pungent flavor makes a delicious addition to soups, breads and rice! And now that you know some of Kalonji's amazing health benefits get off of your seat and get some!!!

Serves: 4

Cooking/Prep time: 35 min

3 Cups of Water or home made vegetable stock

2 Cups Sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into half inch cubes

1 tbs Ginger, minced 


2 tsp Jalapeno or thai chili, seeded and minced (optional)

1 tbs Coriander , freshly ground

1/4 Cup Cashews

1 tsp Salt

2 tsp Coconut oil

2 tsp Kalonji seeds

Limes for garnish 

Parsley or dill leaves for garnish (optional)

Place the sweet potatoes in the water/ stock and bring to a boil. Add the spices and cashews and simmer for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.

Place the soup in the blender, and blend until silky smooth.

Heat the coconut oil in a small pan (avoid burning the oil) add the kalonji seeds and allow them to 'fry' for 30 seconds.

Serve the soup in small bowls. Garnish with the kalonji 'caviar' by pouring dollops of the oil mixed with seeds (like pictured) Add a splash of lime juice and top with herbs.