Fenugreek, a little known spice
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a small, quadrangular, yellow or brown seed that is used mainly in Indian, Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.
What flavor does fenugreek have?
It has a very peculiar bitter taste, which is usually disliked in the West.
Traditional consumption of fenugreek in food
Historically, remains of fenugreek have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, showing that they had already spread throughout the Mediterranean basin since ancient times. However, due to its peculiar flavor, this species has fallen into disuse in the West.
The main use of this seed is probably in its medicinal virtues. Its components are used in herbal medicine, and we can find these seeds in herbalists.
How is fenugreek consumed?
Due to the limited use of this grain in the West, this is a very common question among the discoverers of this grain.
The first feature that can call the attention of this grain is its pungent aroma and bitter taste.
Actually, we may have consumed this food with the curry mixture, because fenugreek is responsible for the bitterness of some of these spice blends.
Fenugreek in the Mediterranean diet appears in Egyptian papyri 1.500aC. However, nowadays, usually with little culture of culinary tradition, we do not know how to introduce this food on our plates.
Fenugreek usage in food
- Fenugreek sprouts: ideal for taking in salad. Seeds are soaked for 12 hours and kept at room temperature (20 º C approx.) For 46 days. They are eaten raw, having a spicy flavor that can be added to salads.
- Aromatic spice: ground grain or flour of fenugreek. When ground, the seeds can be added to curry and mango chutney. Also serve to flavor brines and spice mixtures . The bitter taste of the seeds goes well with breads of all kinds, vegetables, couscous, soups, salads, dressings, pickled vegetables, dried apricots or nuts.
A bag of fenugreek such as it is generally sold
- Toasted seeds: some advise to lightly toast the grain so as to peel all its flavor, when cooked. However, if we exceed cooking, this will emphasize too much the bitter taste of fenugreek.
- Seeds with nuts: a very healthy way to combine healthy fenugreek fruit and dried fruit.
- Cooked seeds: used roasted previously. As simple as adding our seeds to stews, cooking baked, stewed, boiled vegetables, steamed vegetables, etc.. It is recommended to combine with other spices to soften the bitter taste.
- In sauces, stews and soups: if something can be taken into consideration from the food industry, or something that this industry has plagiarized from the traditional use of fenugreek is to employ it as a thickener. You should use the fenugreek flour (ground seeds) and add a small amount to your culinary preparation you want thicken. It provides color, thickness and flavor to rice, casseroles, stews, soups, sauces, etc..
More information on fenugreek recipes.
21 March, 2022