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Fenugreek has been used as a food, spice and medicine since ancient times. Fenugreek is nature's great boon to mankind. It is an erect, strongly scented, robust, annual herb 30 to 60 cm high. It has compound leaves of light green colour 2 to 2.5 cm long, auxillary yellow flowers and pointed pods, 5 to 7 cm long. The fenugreek leaves are aromatic, cooling and mild aperient. The leaves are popular for their aromatic and unique flavor. Fenugreek has a strong, pleasant and a peculiar odor. Indians like the fresh leaves, which are eaten as tasty.
Blanched fenugreek leaves
Boil some water; immerse the leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds and then plunge into cold water. Remove and strain it. Allow it to cool. Blanching helps in minimizing the cooking time for a particular dish and enhances the colour and flavour making it more palatable.
Remove the leaves from the stem. Discard the stems. Wash the leaves thoroughly and remove the excess water by straining. Take a few and chop it with a sharp knife on the chopping board. Chop coarsely or finely, as desired in the recipe. Some recipe call for fenugreek leaves chopped along with stems, in that case do not remove the leaves from stem, instead chop it with sharp knife on a chopping board.
How to Select
Roasted fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek seeds are roasted to get a strong and crisp flavour which is the essence of many dishes. These seeds are dry roasted on a slow flame till they change their colour to a light golden brown and a strong aroma comes out of these seeds. Roasted fenugreek seeds can be powdered or crushed as well as desired in recipes. Roasted fenugreek seeds have a longer shelf life and can be store in an air-tight container upto 6 months or even more.
Always select bunches that are fresh and green in colour. Avoid if they are yellow or very dry textured. Some recipes even call for tender fenugreek leaves, then select small fenugreek leaves which are easily available in the market.Culinary Uses
· Methi thepla and Methi Muthia are the very staple foods relished by Gujarati's accompanied either with a cup of tea or in dinner with potato bhaji or pickles.
· Fenugreek added to vegetables makes the dish delicious. Methi Matar Malai is one very yummy preparation. It can be added to potato or any veggie of your choice.
· When leaves of fenugreek is used in fresh form, it should be remembered that because of its high water content, add water to your preparations only after 10 mins of cooking.
· Chopped methi with crumbled Paneer makes a healthy stuffing for paratha and a healthy lunch box snack.
· Methi in combination with sweet corn is a great addition to Rice. How to Store
Remove the leaves from the stem and wrap it in a paper and keep it an air tight container or net bag. Store in the refrigerator. Best used within a week.Health Benefits
· Traditional healers recommend that people suffering from digestive problems eat Methi leaves.
· It also helps you lose weight and reduces dullness, dizziness and drowsiness.
· In general, it is considered as good appetizer.
· Methi leaves are considered very effective in combative diabetes.
· It is regarded highly beneficial in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and sluggish liver.
· It heals mouth ulcers. An infusion of the leaves can be used as a gargle.
· A very good food for blood formation for adolescent girls to pregnant mothers. Thus, prevents anemia. Fenugreek leaves are cooling
· It's a great Tonic food- tones the tissues of the body