So how is it that one seed brings up two completely different images to mind? Well, when raw the fenugreek seed has a fresh, clean smell of curry powder and celery. An intriguing combination that’s curious to most westerners while simultaneously invigorating. When the seeds are toasted they begin to smell and taste like maple syrup. Indeed, this has led fenugreek to become used in sweet breads and as a source of artificial maple flavoring.
Fenugreek is popular in Middle Eastern and Indian kitchens but has yet to really endear itself to western populations. While classic in many breads and curries, they are also fantastic added to pickling spice blends. To add a bit of zing to a tired bean dip, soak the seeds until soft; they’ll grind up well into a fine paste that should then be folded into the dip.