Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fenugreek Leaves

One of the intriguing foods that Madhur Jaffrey frequently mentioned in Climbing the Mango Trees is fenugreek leaves. Inspired by the book, we stopped -- after a long walk in the park -- for the lunch buffet at Madras Masala, a local Indian restaurant.

I enjoyed all the food. There were a large number of dishes with distinct flavors and different sauces and textures, including some chick-pea patties (seemed like a spicier version of falafel), goat biryani, several types of potatoes, and various breads. I really liked the lemon pickle and mint and coconut chutneys. The kulfi, a dense pistachio ice cream, was also very good. However, I have no idea which flavors and dishes corresponded to the many tastes in the book.

At the end of the meal, I asked about fenugreek leaves. For all I knew, maybe I was eating them. No, I wasn't. First the waiter (who didn't seem to understand me very well) went into the kitchen and brought me a napkin with around a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds on it. They were a little more fragrant-smelling that the ones I have in my spice collection.

I thanked him, but tried again about leaves. He asked the manager or someone. The answer: the leaves are only found in India. So I came home and googled: of course lots of bloggers and food writers have written about this Indian herb. For example, see Green Blog Project - Fish with baby methi (fenugreek) leaves -- incidentally, this is a very interesting-looking blog.

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