Fenugreek, also known as methi, is a spice and herb used in Middle and Near East cuisines. The leaves and seeds of fenugreek are common in both cuisine and traditional medicine for their many purported health benefits. If you stumble upon this exotic ingredient at a spice market or specialty food store, pick some up and expand your palate!
>> Read more: Your Guide to Herbs and Spices
Fenugreek seeds are small, hard, angular seeds, usually yellow or amber in color. The seeds smell like maple syrup but have a warm, spicy, bittersweet flavor similar to burnt sugar. Fenugreek seeds are often ground into spice blends (such as curry), stirred into sauces, or steeped for tea.
Long cultivated in the Mediterranean and western Asia, fenugreek is a common spice used in Ayurvedic cooking practices, which aims to bring balance and health to the body through minimally processed, whole foods. For nursing mothers, fenugreek can improve milk production. Fenugreek is also thought to reduce cholesterol and cardiovascular risk. It also serves to cleanse and detoxify the body. Overall, fenugreek contains beneficial nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and copper, as well as protein and fiber.
To use fenugreek, we recommend making your own delicious curry powder blend to use as a seasoning for chicken, lamb, or a myriad of vegetable dishes.
>> Read more: Q&A: Ayurveda 101 with a Guru