The scent of Fenugreek seeds tend to make me think of Belly Dancers, for whatever reason. It’s beautiful, exotic essence perfumes the very air; transporting me to a place dark with romance and secrets.
Fenugreek is used in many varied cuisines: India, Turkey, Persia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, as well as an ingredient in traditional Yemenite Jewish New Year dishes.
You have probably encountered this spice in curries. Fenugreek’s fresh or dried leaves are used as an herb and the fresh leaves, sprouts and micro-greens are a delightful addition to your vegetable choices. Fenugreek’s distinctive sweet smell is from the chemical component, Sotolon.
The smell of the seeds is reminiscent of so many things, that it can be a challenge to one’s nose to identify exactly what has your attention so thoroughly. It’s pungent sweet, yet bitter aromas may make you think of burnt sugar, caramel, maple syrup, chocolate, coffee, or even, celery. Actually, it is an ingredient in artificial maple syrup.
Such a broad spectrum makes it a favorite in my spice cabinet. Besides it’s natural affinity to all the ingredients from that exotic side of our globe, it is fun to add in unexpected places. Why not? It’s beautiful with cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Try using a titch of toasted, ground seeds in an omelet. Add the same to plain yogurt, with herbs, to create a spectacular sauce for chicken, fish or maybe a lentil soup! Fenugreek also works well with tomatoes, so imagine a sauce featuring toasted ground seeds, garlic, chilies and fresh herbs. Try this sauce with pasta or as a base to roast chicken breasts.
It’s time for me to stop tormenting you with these ideas! Get in the kitchen and cook! Enjoy! Chef Celinda