Fenugreek – Trigonella foenum-graecum
Fenugreek is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae, with leaves consisting of three small obovate to oblong leaflets. It is cultivated worldwide as a semiarid crop, and its seeds are a common ingredient in dishes from the Indian subcontinent.
Fenugreek is used as an herb (dried or fresh leaves), spice (seeds), and vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens). Sotolon is the chemical responsible for fenugreek’s distinctive sweet smell. Cuboid-shaped, yellow-to-amber colored fenugreek seeds are frequently encountered in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, used both whole and powdered in the preparation of pickles, vegetable dishes, daals, and spice mixes such as panch phoron and sambar powder. Fenugreek seeds have a distinctive, slightly bitter flavor and are often roasted to reduce bitterness and enhance flavor.
Fenugreek is believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean region, specifically in the area that is now known as modern-day Greece and Western Asia. It was one of the earliest cultivated plants and has been mentioned in ancient texts from Egypt, India, and China.
Fenugreek was highly regarded in ancient Egypt and was used for medicinal and culinary purposes. It was also found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, indicating its importance and value in Egyptian society.
Fenugreek has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It was believed to have properties that could aid in digestion and alleviate various ailments.
Fenugreek was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was used as a fodder for livestock and a spice for cooking. Additionally, it was used as a herbal remedy for a range of conditions.
Fenugreek has a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian system of medicine. It is considered to have numerous health benefits. Fenugreek seeds and leaves are used in various Ayurvedic preparations.
Fenugreek was introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages by traders from the Islamic world. It quickly gained popularity for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Safety: Fenugreek should not be taken by pregnant women
Country of origin: India