Posts Tagged ‘fenugreek’


I spotted this recipe in the November edition of the excellent Suffolk Magazine (which had a feature on me!)

It’s by Mena Boughey – who runs cooking classes in Lavenham (Suffolk) and runs a catering company–lucky Lavenham!

She emphasizes the importance of introducing spices in small batches–giving each spice time to settle in and release its aroma.

Taking time under the big Suffolk skies–the zen of curry!

She includes a tablespoon of fenugreek–a regular spice in the Indian kitchen with links, as the name implies, to the Mediterranean and like many spices, claims interesting health benefits (good for digestion, good for diabetes).

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp–ground fenugreek

1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander

1 medium onion–sliced

1 garlic clove–mashed with a little salt

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp chili or cayenne powder–less or more according to taste

3 to 4 tinned [canned] tomatoes with their juice–chopped

1 tsp turmeric


300 gms chicken breast (about 2 medium breasts)–excess fat removed and sliced into medium sized pieces

2 medium fennel bulbs–outer leaves removed and cut into medium size pieces (I’ve substituted fennel for the potato in Mena’s recipe.)


2 tsp garam masala

2 or 3 tbsp yogurt–whisked smooth

salt and pepper

for 2/3 (add an additional breast to serve four)

Heat the oil in a medium pan and add the fenugreek, cumin and coriander.


Cook for a couple of minutes on a low heat until they release their aroma.

Add the onion and turn it over in the spices and continue to cook until it starts to soften.


Add the cayenne/chili and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook on for 5 minutes–being careful not to let the spices burn.


Add the tomatoes to the mix and let them meld in and the liquid reduce–about five minutes.


Add the turmeric and stir it in.


Add  the chicken and fennel pieces and enough hot water to cover them.


Bring slowly to the boil then turn the heat down low.

Cook at a light bubble until the chicken is cooked through and the fennel is tender.

Turn off the heat and leave the flavors to take meld.


Before reheating it fold in the yogurt.

Meredith went to the larder in search of chutney the first time I made this.

No luck.

So I made a quick sauce with yogurt and cumin.

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Renown vegetarian cookbook writer, Rose Elliott found this in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian Cookery and adapted it and I have tweaked it a bit.

It’s a quick excursion to the East.

There was a small cabbage in the fridge and some fenugreek seeds on the shelf in the larder, which I whizzed into powder in a converted coffee grinder!

The fenugreek is optional, but interesting… (as its name implies this herb is found in the mediterranean region and has healing qualities as well as culinary uses.)

Our friend Myriam called in this morning and said it was minus ten last night and would not get warmer until Wednesday, so a bowl of something gently spicy and soupy for lunch might be just the ticket.

for 4

250gms/8oz red lentils

2 1/4 pints/1300ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1/3 teaspoon turmeric

375gms/12oz tinned tomatoes–chopped

  • Rinse the lentils thoroughly.
  • Put them in a saucepan with the stock and the turmeric and bring up to the boil.
  • Cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes then set aside.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder (optional)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 onion–chopped

a small cabbage–outer leaves removed, quartered, cored and shredded

Juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper

Parsley or better still fresh coriander–chopped to sprinkle over

  • Heat the oil in a new pan.
  • Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they start to pop–a couple of minutes; they look brown in the photo but in fact stay black.
  • Mix in the curry powder and the fenugreek (if using) and let them  cook for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion and the cabbage and mix everything together well.
  • Cover the pan and cook  for 5 minutes.
  • Add the wilted cabbage mix to the lentils.
  • Bring the mixture up to the simmer.
  • Leave it to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle over the parsley or coriander when you serve.

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