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Fenugreek

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I stopped at a Mennonite store last week while visiting friends. They had a large selection of herbs and spices. Among the spices was Fenugreek. I've never heard of this spice and neither the clerk or store manager were of much help about how to use it (so I had to buy some, of course :crazy:) . Have any of you ever used it and if so, in what?
post #2 of 14
Both the seeds and plant parts of fenugreek are fairly common in the cuisines of the Mediteranian rim; particularly in the North Africa-Turkey side. But it's also found in Greek and Italian cookery.

BTW, the seeds can be used to make a great tasting, slightly bitter, sprout.
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 14
Fenugreek leaves and seeds (Methi) can be used in Indian cooking to flavour curries and other dishes (Medicinal and other Purposes aside).

As for the use of fenugreek in non-Indian cultures (Mostly West and Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean) I will defer to others.
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #4 of 14
As already noted, fenugreek is much used in Indian cooking. The seeds are very hard, quite difficult to grind. Scroll down for a little bit of an explanation.

A classic Indian use of methi leaves is in potato dishes. I Westernize that and add crumbled dried methi leaves to mashed potatoes. And I add ground fenugreek to many items that include sweet spices. It's one of my favorites! :lips:
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 14
Is the flavor of it analogous to anything else, such as anise to licorice?
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post #6 of 14

Maple Syrup

Fenugreek is used extensively in the production of imitation maple syrup. It has a complex character and is mostly blended in curry mixtures. Reccomended to breast feeding mothers along with quinoa to increase milk production.
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post #7 of 14
I'm most familiar with fenugreek in greek and lebanese cooking. It is very aromatic (if your think you can smell garlic on somebody, oh, boy, watch out!) and best used with other spices in a rub. Great with slow cooked lamb.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your input. I'm looking forward to using this. I don't do a lot of Mediterranean cooking, so will try to adapt it to my style. At this point I'm thinking of using in stew or a hearty vegetable soup. Also found some info about using it to season new potatos and as part of the coating mix for breading fried foods. The texture of the fenugreek I purchased is similar in size to mustard seed and in shape to little rectangles, so I'll try to pulverize it a bit.

Mezzaluna, I tasted a bit on my finger and the flavour reminds me of curry spice and canning (think pickle relish, etc).

Again, thanks everyone for your input.
post #9 of 14
Mapleine is extracted from fenugreek...
post #10 of 14
Bubbamom -- if you have a spice grinder, you'll have to run the fenugreek in it a long time, and it still won't be a fine powder. (I've tried, and still have a gritty powder.) But it will be easier to add directly to food. Otherwise, you might try adding the whole grains to the cooking water for potatoes.

It is indeed a major component of "curry powder" -- and one of my favorite spices. I had no idea about the maple-flavor connection, but it makes sense.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #11 of 14
Previously discussed, fanugreek is a key ingredient in curry. I use it in North Indian cooking by frying it in hot oil with cumin and tumeric. But, if you want to go the "avant gard" route, I once had a fanugreek creme brulee in Barcelona. I believe the cream is infused with the seeds and strained. Not my thing, but those who are really into that stuff loved it.
post #12 of 14
Back home(is israel) it grows wild. We usually use the yemeni name for it - "H'eelbeh". They make a paste out of it and eat it with everything. No body else seems to like it do.
You have to watch out about eating too much. One of the oils doesn't get metabolize and comes out when you prespire. You'll stink(some like that smell, i don't)!
post #13 of 14
Wikipedia mentions the sweat and urine taking on an odor from fenugreek.

But I hadn't heard of that before.
post #14 of 14
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