Fenugreek (Kasuri Methi) is short, upright plant (related to spinach) with oval leaves. The entire plant has a strong, sweet aroma. The mature leaves have the bitter taste. Ground fenugreek (seeds) has a warm, yellowish-brown color with a strong curry-like taste. In powdered form, fenugreek is one of the main ingredients of curry powders. Fenugreek is used to add flavor to meat dishes. It is also considered as an aphrodisiac.
Fenugreek– Names in different Indian Languages.
Hindi– Kasuri Methi , Bengal – Methi, Gujrati – Methi , Punjabi – Kasuri Methi
Tamil - Venthya, Urdu – Methi
Fenugreek aids in digestion. It reduces the sugar level in the blood, it is used in diabetes in conjunction with insulin. It also lowers blood pressure. Fenugreek relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection. Fenugreek contains natural expectorant properties ideal for treating sinus and lung congestion & removes excess mucus and phlegm. Fenugreek is also an excellent source of selenium, an anti-radiant which helps the body utilize oxygen. Fenugreek is a natural source of iron, silicon, sodium and thiamine.
Fenugreek has three culinary uses: as a herb (dried or fresh leaves), as a spice (seeds), and as a vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens).
The major use of fenugreek is in curry powders.It is an ingredient of Panch phoron, the Indian five-spice mixture. In home-made powders, the amount used can be controlled, but in cheap bought powders it often overpowers. When the fish is curried, particularly strong-tasting fish such as tuna and mackerel, fenugreek is frequently included in the spice mixture. Many chutneys and pickles incorporate it and it gives a tangy aroma to vegetables. The leaves, both fresh and dried, are used in meat curries, dal and vegetable dishes and chutneys for flavor and taste. Fresh leaves are also eaten as the vegetable. The dried leaves are basically used in garnishing like cilantro but sometimes it is added in the curry paste also. In India the roasted ground seeds are infused for a coffee substitute or adulterant. A tea can be made by infusing teaspoon of seed with two cups of water for five minutes.
Dried seeds should be lightly roasted before using (don’t overdo it, or they will become bitter). After roasting, they can be easily ground. A small amount will complement many other spices, but too much can be overpowering. If the seeds are required as part of a curry paste they can be soaked overnight to swell and soften, and be easily mixed with the other ingredients.
The seeds are bitter in taste so if it if added in excess it can spoil the overall taste of the dish.