There are typically two parts of the fenugreek plant that are used: the seeds and the leaves.
Fenugreek leaves are commonly used in Indian, Pakistani and Persian cooking. They are slightly bitter (which tends to decrease with cooking), but have a very earthy flavor, reminiscent of celery and fennel, much like the seeds. The seeds are definitely stronger, but the leaves still pack a good amount of flavor. One of the most awesome things about using the leaves, is that they are AIP compliant! So, you can get the fenugreek flavor without having to use the seed.
While fresh leaves are best, most of us here in the US can only find them dried or powdered. Personally, I like to buy them dried and then crush them myself in a mortar and pestle (or crushing them in your hands works well, too).
The seeds are a staple in African and Eastern and European cooking. They have a long history as a digestive aid, appetite suppressant, are used to promote lactation and they are said to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, when used topically. They’re also a very popular ingredient in spice blends.
The leaves are often sprinkled on dishes just before serving, but also are essential in flavouring sauces (like curries) and soups. Try adding them to your next bread or roll recipe (phenomenal, but use just a little) and experiment adding some to fatty sauces or condiments (so good with tomato-based or creamy sauces).
Fenugreek leaves are available online.
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