Fenugreek isn’t your average kind of spice, and it’s not one many modern American kitchens will have or use. But this wonder spice condiment is so potent that just a little bit can transform your cooking with surprising results. Like black bean sauce, the ingredient is the secret sauce that successful restaurants have used to the greatest effect over time.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves are edible and popularly used for medicinal purposes or as spices in Indian cuisine. It is an annual herb plant similar to clover and tastes like maple syrup. The plant tastes bitter when eaten raw but delivers a more pleasant culinary experience when cooked.
Indian cuisine generally has a great reputation and is enjoyed in every continent globally. However, its frequent usage is tied to much more than its humble beginnings. Read on to find out why this ingredient is one thing you’ll need to replicate the Indian-style cooking at home.
What Does Fenugreek Taste Like?
Fenugreek isn’t a plant you’d enjoy tasting raw as it leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth. Both the leaves and the seed give off this bitter-tasting experience, but that’s where the unpleasant experience ends.
Once cooked, the plant gives off a nutty flavor close in taste to maple syrup with an undertone of residual bitterness. However, depending on individual taste buds, you may experience it as more of a burnt sugar taste instead.
Whatever taste or flavor option you settle on, including fenugreek in your cooking is always something to try when possible. The leaves and seed are often ground into powder form and used as spices to create some extra culinary magic.
Fenugreek Leaves vs. Seeds
While these two are technically from the same plant, there are more than a few differences. Sure, you can get the same results using either one, but you’ll need significantly different quantities each time.
Fenugreek leaves, like garlic, are a lot more versatile than the seeds are and are preferred for use directly when cooking. Adding the leaves while cooking gives better results than seeds because the nutrients get out much quicker.
On the other hand, the seeds contain higher aromatic concentrations and are usually more bitter. In addition, they’re so hard that you’ll need to have them soaked for long periods before you can then grind them into spice.
Beyond the difference in concentration and texture, fenugreek leaves and seeds deliver the same results when used. Also, you won’t need to worry if you’re not cut out for all the stress it takes to prepare one. There are many ready-made options you can purchase online, and all you’ll simply need to do is find a good one.
Culinary Tips and Tricks for Fenugreek
There are multiple ways to raise your culinary skills with a little extra fenugreek in your dishes. It may take some time to master fenugreek spices, but here are some quick tips you can try right away:
Blend Your Own Fenugreek Spice
If you’re feeling up to the task, try blending your own spice mix right at home by yourself. It might be a challenge, but you’ll end up with something cool made by yours truly.
You can try a quick tip to combine fenugreek seeds and leaves with some bay leave and coriander. Then, if you’re more experienced, you can add some cumin or other ingredients.
Make You Own Fenugreek Tea
Like Genmaicha tea, making fenugreek tea isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you’ll need are some cinnamon, ginger, and those special fenugreek seeds to go along with them.
Once you’ve crushed the seeds, mix them with the other ingredients and boil for a few minutes. After straining, you can add honey or stevia to the tea.
Try Different Use Cases
If your fenugreek is homemade, you can have some extra fun using it in multiple ways when cooking. For example, try using the whole seeds after a bit of tampering, or just dry roast and crush it into powder instead.
So far, we’ve provided you with useful information about fenugreek and why it’s a great plant spice to have around. This plant has been around since ancient times and has been used for cooking for just as long.
Fenugreek goes by different names depending on where it’s used. But by whatever name it’s called, it’s always a joy to experience in every dish. Maybe you’ve used it before, or you haven’t. Either way, it’s one spice you’ll always find handy for that extra bit of culinary flavor.