Across the world, certain spices are used in almost all cuisines. Spices are known to flavor foods thus enhancing taste as well as health. The culinary world is replete with a plethora of herbs and spices that add charm to our delicacies. From a bountiful of spices, only a few are used worldwide.
Fenugreek is one such herb cum spice that is used all across the world. Foods acquire an amazing taste once herbs are added. The seeds of this herb in varying tones of yellow and amber are used as a spice. Since this herb is available all across the world, it has been baptized with every different region. Known as the magic mantra in Indian cuisine, it is added to numerous dishes. They are added to flavor pickles, curry pastes, and curry powder. It is regarded as main ingredient in curry powder. The seeds are pounded and used in powdered form. The ground seeds are sprinkled on rice to add zest. The moderate intake of this herb is considered beneficial for good health.
Pregnant women are advised to consume sweets prepared from fenugreek seeds- known as ‘methi laddoo’ as they are believed to be beneficial in increasing supply of lactation. This is the most primeval traditional remedy to boost milk supply in mothers. The little green leaves of this plant are consumed as greenies in Southeast Asia. The tender leaves and sprouts are cooked with different spices and consumed as a vegetable for meal. The dried leaves are called as kasseri methi, which has a taste bitter and strong aroma.
The fresh leaves are widely used in the preparation of curry that is popular in the Indian subcontinent. They taste delicious with combination of spinach or potatoes. This curry is consumed with Indian bread made of white flour- roti or naan. It can also be served with rice. People in china and Western Asia consume it boiled. It is one of the main ingredients in Indian recipes. They are added to Gujrati snack- khakhra- slim bread.
In Ethiopian cuisines they are added to a kind of bread known as ‘Taita’. In the Ethiopian culture, the seeds are known as ‘Abesh’, which is considered as the best remedy to control diabetes. Similar to Indian ghee- even Ethiopian traditional clarified butter-‘ tesme’ includes these seeds. The Turkish name for this herb is ‘cemen’ that is added to prepare a warm paste used in a dish dubbed as ‘pastirma’. Even the Egyptians used this herb for the same purpose. It is an honored herb in Yemen as; these seeds are one of the main ingredients that are used to prepare Yemen’s national dish- ‘Saltah’ and widely known as ‘Shanbalileh’ in Persian. One of the herbs from four herbs, fenugreek seeds is used to prepare Iranian delicacies ‘Ghormeh Sabzi’.
In Egyptian culture, these seeds are boiled and sweetened to make a refreshing healthy herbal tea. This tea is one of the healthiest drinks served usually in winters. They are very much popular in coffee houses and relished with some snacks. In certain regions of Middle East, this herb is used to prepare sweet confects. ‘Helba’ – a cake that is popular in the Islamic world is relished on auspicious occasions. This cake is prepared from semolina, sugar, and dusted with this herb.
This herb has great importance during numerous festivals such as the ‘festival of Passover’. Even Jews habitually consume this seeds after their meals of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ – The New Year.
The flavor of fenugreek seeds are relished in multiple cuisines globally and should be preserved in traditional cuisines.