Fenugreek is indigenous to southeastern Europe and western Asia and historically was grown wild throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and India. Fenugreek is from the bean family and both the leaves and the seeds provide some culinary use. The leaves of the fenugreek plant are called Methi and are dull green while the seeds are a caramel yellow in color. Fenugreek is also known as Greek hayseed, goat’s horn and Methi. Our Fenugreek Seeds come from India.
Fenugreek seeds are rectangular, caramel-colored and they’re rock hard. In order to release their flavor these they must first be ground. These can be ground in several manners – ground just as they are received, slightly roasted and then ground (this releases maximum flavor and aroma) or soaked for several hours and then ground (if you wasn’t to use them as a paste).
Once ground the aroma is almost intoxicating and you’ll notice a pungent, spiciness with undertones of butterscotch and sweet nuts. This is a spice where the flavor does not come close to matching the aroma. The taste is nutty and bittersweet. It has been described as similar to celery seed or lovage. These seeds are rich in protein and have a hint of heat to them coming in at a 1-2 on the heat scale.
Fenugreek has a long history and has been dated back to Roman Empire and found in several Egyptian tombs. Grown like most grains this hay-crop was originally popular with herds of cattle, goats and sheep. As a spice it was first used to flavor beef and lamb stews in northern Africa and throughout Persia.
Not as popular with Western cooks, Fenugreek enjoys it’s reputation as a sought after spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Fenugreek is more often found in curry powders and is a key ingredient in Vindaloo Curry, Sri Lankan hot curries and in the Indian five spice blend Panch Phoron. As a bean with high protein value it provides a zesty aroma to vegetarian dishes in India and Pakistan. When ground into flour it is used in spicy flatbread.
Use Fenugreek in fish curries, with root or green vegetables, lamb, legumes, potatoes, rice and tomatoes.
Fenugreek partners well cardamom, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, garlic, pepper, nigella and turmeric.
We also now carry the hard to find and exotic Fenugreek Leaves and an easier to use Ground Fenugreek.