As mentioned in Day 2 of The Challenge
A friend got me 1 kg of Fenugreek seeds recently. The seeds have a beautiful, sweet, tangy smell to them. A little midnight research during a recent night shift suggested that used as they are they have a bitter flavour, but if toasted they become richer and sweeter. Apparently they have been used medicinally for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and pro-lactation ingredient. I'd never used it and was curious, so I made a couple of curries with it recently, but with so many different flavours, it is hard to identify a single note in order to figure out what it-s like and how it interacts with other flavours.
This was therefore an experimental dish with fewer flavours to try and tease out the fenugreek's properties and taste. I opted for porridge as it is good base coat that I hoped would welcome and show up any variations of the fenugreek. Based on the description I thought it might match well with something citrusy and with other "sweet" spices - orange peel, cinnamon and cloves, matched with yellow raisins.
1 cup oats
2 cup milk
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp of orange peel, dried
a handful of yellow raisins
1) Put oats, milk and raisins in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring occasionally. As porridge thickens, add cloves and cinnamon.
2) Put fenugreek seeds and orange peel in a dry pan and toast gently.
3) Add fenugreek seeds and orange peel to the porridge, and serve into two bowls.
For an experiment, this came out well but it does need some tweaking. It was still a bit bitter and needed a bit of sweetness to bring out the flavours. We added a shake of a cocoa spice blend my sister brought me back from Hawaii (cocoa, cardamom, cane sugar etc.). It helped but wasn't enough. Next time I would try it with some dates, honey, or a tsp of brown sugar per bowl. I might also toast the seeds a bit further. The porridge wasn't as creamy as I would have liked either as I ran out of milk and used some water instead.
The flavours did come together very nicely aside from the bitterness. the orange, raisins and spices payed off each other beautifully. I usually have my morning porridge a lot simpler, but I would definitely try this again, and I feel that the experiment to feel out the properties of fenugreek was a definite success. Other ideas are forming and bubbling up to test this new spice further... Watch this space for the next, and do chip in if you have ideas.
EDIT: We tried this again, but with a couple of changes and this time, I think it is a keeper! Instead of dry roasting the spices, I fried the fenugreek seeds and orange peel in about 2tsp of butter for a few minutes, then added the cinnamon and cloves and about 8 dates, quartered. I let those all cook together for a further 5-7 minutes and then added them to the porridge and it was delectable. My husband added fresh figs to his too. I did not find that it needed further sweetening but if you did, then I think honey would be your best bet. creamy and sweet with warm spices, this was a tasty cold morning treat, and only took a little more effort than my regular porridge.