From the pea family, fenugreek is one of the few rare plants that produces both an herb and a seed (which is considered a spice). The other two plants are the Coriandrum sativum which gives us both cilantro and coriander seeds and the dill which produces dill weed and dill seed. Fenugreek is used both as a spice (from the seed) and an herb (from the leaves). Fresh leaves and sprouts are also eaten as vegetables.
In this country we refer to these as Dried Fenugreek Leaves but they are sometimes called Methi Leaves and in other parts of the world are also known as “kasuri methi” or “kasoori methi” after the region of Kasur located in Punjab, Pakistan where they grows wild in large amounts. In Europe fenugreek was first used as a fodder crop and to this day it is often referred to as Greek hay.
Dried Fenugreek leaves have a fragrant aroma with hints of hay. The flavor is bitter yet strangely addictive while being less intense than the seeds. You’ll notice hints of fennel and celery.
A central herb in Indian cuisine dried Fenugreek leaves are used in making the Indian breads naan and paratha. Used in the traditional Iranian lamb and herb stew, ghormeh sabzi and the dried leaves are crushed and sprinkled over curries and dry vegetable dishes towards the end of the cooking process.
We like to use dried Fenugreek leaves to flavor sauces and gravies and they also work well with roasted meats, green and root vegetables (carrots, potatoes and yams), chicken, curries, fish, potatoes, Egyptian bread, teas, seafood and eggs (especially in herb omelets).
Works well in combination with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, garlic, nigella, pepper and turmeric.
Helpful hint: because of the strong flavor of Fenugreek leaves we recommend that you use smaller amounts to start until you get use t the flavor. Remember you can never remove too much herb or spice used in a dish but you can always add more.