Tuesday, 2 September 2008

My Turn! Think Spice... Think.... Fenugreek!

Oooo - exciting for me - I'm hosting my very first food event!

Well, technically it isn't my food event, Think Spice... is the brain child of the wonderful Sunita of Sunita's World. But I do get to choose the spice... and do the round up... so I think maybe this month it is mine, just a little!*

The spice I have chosen for this month's entry is fenugreek. Also known as methi, fenugreek is a common spice in Indian cooking - and one of the oldest medicinal spices. It was used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming - but I really would prefer no entries of that order!

Fenugreek seeds can be bitter, and should be roasted before grinding to deepen the flavour and knock off the bitter edge. The flavour is powerful and bittersweet - and can be used in sweet as well as savoury dishes. (Apparently it is the main ingredient in imitation maple syrup, though I can't vouch for that one myself!) It is also a popular addition to baked goods.

Healthwise, fenugreek is packed full of protein - it's actually a legume as well as a spice! It's a digestive aid, and often taken by breast-feeding women to encourage milk production. And speaking of breasts - apparently it is also taken as a breast enlarger (sorry guys!!) and there are links to it actually working to prevent breast cancer!

Oh yes, and it is known to ease menstrual cramps and act as an aphrodisiac!! Common people, what are you waiting for??

I've been using fenugreek for years when creating curries - but it has only been in the last year or so that I have come to appreciate its individual flavour, and allowed it to take more of a front seat in my cooking. Now I admit - my reasons for choosing fenugreek are twofold. First of all, I want to bring this lovely spice some more publicity... but secondly... and more sneakily... I really want to see more recipes using fenugreek - and can't wait to see the round up!

Right, so here we go with the rules!

  1. Post your fenugreek recipe on your blog before the 28th September. Ideally the fenugreek with be a dominant flavour in the recipe - not just part of a blend!
  2. You can use fenugreek seeds, ground fenugreek or dried fenugreek leaves in your dish.
  3. Include a link back to this post.
  4. Email me your entry with your name, a picture,if any (250 pixels wide, height does not matter) of your dish and the permalink of your recipe by or before the announced deadline to kittieskitchen [at] googlemail [dot]com.
  5. Non -Bloggers are also welcome to join in the fun. E-mail me your entry with a picture to kittieskitchen [at] googlemail [dot]com
  6. The round ups will be posted during the first week of October.

Can't wait to see your entries!

* I do actually have a food event in mind that would be all mine! And obviously fabulous! So as long as this doesn't put me off... watch this space :)

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Dee said...

Yay, for your upcoming food event. I'm in! Although I should wait to see what it is first, I suppose.

I don't know what to cook for this, but I do have a story. Fenugreek is traditionally used to stimulate the production of milk in nursing mothers. I drank so much of the stuff steeped in hot water over 2 years that I haven't touched the stuff since.

Natashya said...

Wow, this would be an interesting spice to try to showcase! Very challenging.
Can't wait to see what people come up with.

re maple syrup - here in Canada real maple syrup is just boiled down maple sap, nothing else.
Perhaps fenugreek is an ingredient in table syrup.

Lisa said...

Great choice! I'll try to send something along.

Adam said...

Nice spice choice :) I'll have to put some thought in and see what I can do...

Oh and if you host your own event, I'm totally game.

Life for Beginners said...

Oooh, now I wish I had a working kitchen so I can join in. Sounds exciting! :D

Cynthia said...

Hey I love the new look of your header!

Anonymous said...

I'll have to look for this spice. Going to try to find it.

sunita said...

You have thought about the most important part of the event...the spice...so that does make it your event, doesn't it :-D

Seriously, that is a wonderful choice of spice.I'm sure you'll do a great job at hosting :-)

kittie said...

hi dee - I'd read about that use of it - and can totally understand that drinking it as tea for 2 years would put you off slightly!! I'm hoping to firm up the details of my event once this one is finished!

Natashya - I think it was for imitation maple syrup - though why they would bother I just don't know!! ps. I think it's funny we both have baby animals in our kitchens ;)

Hey Lisa, I hope you do - I'd love to see what you come up with!

Cheers Adam - I will hold you to that ;)

Hi Kenny - how do you cope without a working kitchen! I'm sure I would go mad ;)

Thanks Cynthia!!

It's a good spice Candy - it has really upped the quality of my Indian inspired dishes.

Thanks Sunita - it's an honour to host (a slightly scary one ;)

Maria said...

Thanks for visiting our blog! Looks like a fun food event!

Heather said...

You know, I have a lot of Indian spices, but no fenugreek. I need to get back to the Indian grocery and refill my spices (and frozen naan - yum).

Thanks for the nice, infotaining post, Kittie!

Tom Aarons said...

It's gotta be cheaper than all those bl...y oysters! :)

(Seriously, thanks for the tip on the roasting, I've often had a hard time working out how to fit the bitterness in...)

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Aparna said...

My first time here.
Great spice choice. Would this include fenugreek leaves (fresh or dried)? Or only seeds?

kittie said...

Thanks Maria - I hope you get a chance to put in an entry!

So you'll do frozen naan - but not frozen pizza heather?? ;) Fenugreek is a great spice - I've found it adds a real edge to Indian food.

Tom - I hope the roasting works out for you! (Alternatively try some chocolate ;)

Hey aparna! And welcome :) Dried fenugreek leaves can be used - I'll update the post. Thanks for asking!

Psychgrad said...

Ok...now I'm stressed. Fenugreek. I've heard of it but haven't even come close to trying it before. I know...expand my horizons.

Bellini Valli said...

This is a great event Kittie. I have only real maple syrup in my cupboards but absolutely take your word on the fact that fenugreek is in the "fake" stuff. Perhaps it has a smoky taste?

kittie said...

psychgrad - give it a go - you'll be glad you did! It isn't too scary - promise!

I don't think I've ever tried fake maple syrup either Val! I guess if it is roasted it might go a bit smoky!

CECIL said...

Interesting choice of spice! I may have to send something in. :D

kittie said...

Yay - I hope you do Cecil!

Yasmeen said...

Fenugreek is one of my fav spices. I'll try to sent my recipe soon.

Maggie said...

This is a spice I've always wanted to try. I'm looking forward to the entries!

Geetha said...

First time here... Methi does enhance indian food a lot. So, only dried leaves and not fresh is it? I was just making a methi dal (with fresh methi leaves), well thought I'd ask!

Priya said...

Awesome thought Kittie..count me also

kittie said...

Great yasmeen - I look forward to seeing it!

maggi - It is a great spice - I use the dried leave loads... Once you start it becomes an essential!

Sorry geetha, not fresh - but I'm coming over to check out your dal now!!

Hi Priva - glad you like it!!

Geetha said...

oh well.. there's no harm in asking :) posted the methi dal recipe just now.. will be cooking up something with fenugreek for your event - it happens to be one of my favorite spices.

Shreya said...

I hope I can think of some dish that is exclusive to methi, because I add Methi to almost all my curries, and subji-s (a pinch or 1/2 tsp is a must to all dishes). Great Spice to Think Spice...

Aparna said...

Kittie, just sent you my entry.

Geetha said...

thank you for visiting my blog. do try the sprouted methi. it is very good.

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