fenugreek seeds

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Also Known as
Methi Seeds, Vendayam

Description
Fenugreek seeds are small, roughly angular, brownish yellow seeds, which have a pleasantly bitter flavour and strong aroma. The seeds are often toasted to enhance their pungent aroma, and then powdered alone or with other spices. In Indian cuisine, fenugreek seed is a common ingredient in curry powders and pickle powders. It is also used to temper various vegetable and dal based dishes to enhance the aroma and taste.

Roasted fenugreek seeds
Dry-roasting of fenugreek seeds enhances their aroma and nutty flavour. Before roasting, sort the seeds to remove stones and other debris. Then, heat a pan till warm and add the seeds. Roast on a medium flame stirring occasionally to avoid charring. Roast till the colour deepens. For a mellow flavour (preferred for subzis and dals) roast lightly and for a more bitter taste (preferred for making some pickle masalas), roast for a longer while.
Sprouted fenugreek seeds
Wash the seeds in a colander, transfer to a non-metallic container and add a cup of water. Cover with a lid, and allow to soak for about 12 hours. Drain out the water. Rinse with fresh water and drain. Cover again and leave aside to sprout for four days, periodically rinsing the fenugreek once in say six to eight hours. After the sprouts have reached the desired length, rinse them thoroughly and drain. Pat dry with a paper towel, and store in the refrigerator till needed. Alternatively, you can soak the fenugreek seeds for two hours and then boil them to use in vegetable preparations.

How to Select
• Choose yellow seeds that are uniform.
• Check for a strong aroma.

Culinary Uses
• Methi seeds, whole, fried or roasted and powdered, are used in the tadka for dals and subzis.
• It is used commonly in pickles across India and is part of the famous five-spice mixture used in Bengal.
• Fenugreek seeds are an essential ingredient in masala powders, especially sambhar powder.
• Add a pinch of ground fenugreek to Indian curries, chickpeas, falafel mix and potato dishes for a tempting aroma and flavour.
• Soaked and boiled seeds or sprouted ones can be added to subzis.
• Sprouted fenugreek seeds can also be added to sandwiches and salads, juiced with vegetables, or used as a garnish for soups, rice, pasta dishes and stir-fries.
• To make a tea, add a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to a cup of boiling water. Strain and relish it with a little honey, plain or with a little milk.

How to Store
• Fenugreek seeds retain their flavour for years.
• Being low in moisture, they can keep for a year or more, in an airtight container, unrefrigerated.

Health Benefits
• Since time immemorial, fenugreek seeds have been valued for their medicinal benefits.
• It has great cleansing properties. It helps cleanse the blood. By triggering sweat, it also detoxifies the body. It is also reputed as a lymphatic cleanser.
• It is wonderful for stimulating and fortifying the immune system.
• Fenugreek seeds, soaked overnight in water and consumed in the morning, water, seed and all, helps to control blood sugar levels.
• A powerful antioxidant, it acts as a mucus solvent and throat cleanser, and also eases the urge to cough.
• Even drinking the water that the seeds have been soaked in or rinsed with helps to soften and dissolve accumulated and hardened masses of cellular debris.
• Use fenugreek for head colds, influenza, catarrh, constipation, bronchial complaints, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis, sore throat, laryngitis, hay fever and sinusitis.
• Fenugreek can be used for peptic ulcers and inflamed conditions of the stomach and bowel, as it absorbs and eliminates toxic material.
• Fenugreek helps travellers affected by abdominal griping pains and gastric upsets due to consumption of contaminated water.
• People find that drinking a cup of fenugreek tea before meals can bring relief from numerous ailments.




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