Fenugreek is a plant that is used for both its seeds and leaves. Both can be used either whole or ground. Fenugreek has a very strong, aromatic fragrance, and is often added in various dishes across cultures for its distinct aroma. It is also commonly referred to as shambalileh and methi.
Fenugreek is a spice that is native to the Mediterranean and Asia. While the leaves of the plant are flat and almost shaped like a spear, the seeds are small and hard, and they are rectangular in shape. For better understanding, it would not be wrong to say that fenugreek seeds look like corn kernels. Even though both the leaves and the seeds of fenugreek have a savoury aroma when heated, similar to a maple syrup or caramel, their taste is the complete opposite. Both taste very bitter.
Fenugreek leaves and seeds are often used in Indian cuisine. They are added in curries, teas, spice blends, and more. They are also heavily used in Middle Eastern as well as North African cuisines, with ground seeds often employed as dry rubs as well as a sprinkle for sauce, yogurt and cooked vegetables. The leaves are often added in salads when they are not used in cooking.