Spice up cooking with coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek seeds

I like to cook.  I like to cook light meals and mostly vegetarian dishes.  For health and weight, I keep my fat grams to under 60 per day, so when cooking, I use a lot of fresh ground spices to keep the flavor high.  Some favorites are fennel seeds (licorce-y), coriander seeds (citrus-y), cumin seeds (smoky/nutty), mustard seeds (hot-ish) black cardamom seeds (aromatic, smoky/cool) and fenugreek seeds (maple-y).  How I use them is I crush the seeds using a mortar and pestle or using the spice grinder.  I often use equal parts of the above seeds (maybe 1/2 tsp each) but I always use less of the mustard seeds since they’re hot.  Most often  I saute the crushed seeds in oil in a pan before adding in my veggies.

I’ve been reading about the different spices I use and last night I was reading about fenugreek.  You can buy it in packages of seeds at an Indian or middle Eastern market, or even online at Amazon.com.  Fenugreek helps reduce fever when taken with lemon and honey, since it nourishes the body during an illness. To treat a fever, consume 1-2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds three times a day along with an herbal tea and a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice.  A recommended home remedy for treating Type 2 Diabetes is to consume 500mg of fenugreek twice daily. A remedy against heartburn or Acid Reflux is to take one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and swallow them with water or juice before any meal.

I didn’t know that all that about fenugreek. How I use it is I roast and grind the seeds to include in stirfry veggie dishes.  If you bite the seed it tastes bitter, but to cook with it brings out its mildly maple-y, caramel-y flavor.  A good dish to use it in is Andrea’s homefries: Heat a little oil in a pan, add 1 tsp each fenegreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and 1/4 tsp mustard seeds all mildy crushed. Cover the pan or the mustard seeds will pop at you. Shake and toast like this for 3-5 minutes, then add 2 cut up cooked potatoes. Shake to coat and brown another few minutes. Add sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper.  You can add some fresh kale or spinach at the end and it’s ready when it wilts.

Soaking the seeds in water overnight makes them soft and jelly-like and the swelled up seeds can be easily made into a paste for flavoring gravies.  The six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and hot, advocated by Ayurveda balances our diet for optimum health and nutrition and an easy way to get the bitter taste to our diet is to add fenugreek seeds to our foods.

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