Fenugreek. Ways to Use Fenugreek Seeds
Author: Shelley Bennetts Date Posted:15 August 2018
Fenugreek seeds, also known as methi and shambalileh, are a spice used in Indian, Turkish, Afghani, Persian and Egyptian kitchens. These lovely, aromatic seeds are usually toasted, which enhances their unique flavour. They are also highly aromatic, smelling somewhat like nutty caramel as they cook. Fenugreek seeds are a main ingredient in spice blends, dry rubs and tea blends.
Cooking with Fenugreek
These little seeds pack quite a punch so are used in small quantities. They are rarely used as a main flavour, as they impart a bitter flavour to a dish. Rather, they are part of a balancing act between flavours, adding both aroma and bitterness. In Indian foods they are typically used with vegetables rather than meats.
To bring out the full flavour and aroma, the seeds are generally toasted. Often used as a base ingredient in Indian dishes, they are fried in a little oil along with other base spices. Once toasted, they can be ground to a powder, but I prefer to taste the bitter crunch of the whole toasted seed. And, you don’t want to lose the potent flavour of fenugreek, so toast and grind fenugreek seeds just prior to using. This Bengali Broccoli with dal and Fenugreek seeds recipe uses seeds soaked for a couple of hours prior to cooking.
My search has uncovered some less traditional uses for Fenugreek seeds. Try using toasted fenugreek seeds to infuse olive oil and use as a salad dressing. Fenugreek seeds are used by adventurous cheese makers to flavour Gouda and goats cheeses. It’s even used as a maple-like flavoring for sweets.
This Fenugreek tea has many health benefits, but it’s much more pleasant if infused with some fennel seeds as well for sweetness. I’ve made myself a pot and I’m drinking it now. The aftertaste is wonderful!
To make Fenugreek and Fennel tea:
Add One teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and one teaspoon of fennel seeds per cup to a teapot. Add boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
Traditional Uses of Fenugreek
There are more good reasons to include Fenugreek spice in our diet than you might think. Fenugreek has been used in traditional medicines for millennia. Apart from increasing the production of insulin, helping with symptoms of indigestion or intestinal problems, supporting the heart, cleansing the liver and relieving the symptoms of colds and flu, it’s particularly helpful for breast-feeding mums. In many traditional cultures, Fenugreek is used to support new mothers by stimulating the production of breast milk.