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When bitter is better

September 22, 2009


No, this is not a comment on life’s bitter lessons…more a comment on that other sense of taste that does not seem to get quite as much of a work out as the sweet. My mum always insisted that we eat some bitter vegetables such as karela (I think the Chinese call these bitter melon) and fenugreek leaves, claiming that they were good for ‘purifying the blood’. Interestingly western medicine has recently caught up with some of these ideas and they have now found that karela/bitter melon is particularly good for people with diabetes amongst other things. Whether it does something clever for my blood/body or not, I actually like the taste of these bitter foods. And just like my mother did, I try and force my kids to eat some too.

So can you guess what sprouts these are?

Fenugreek – a member of the lentil family as I have recently discovered. I love sprouting grains and seeds. I do it in an old, slightly chipped bowl that I always seem to use. Perhaps because it gives me just the right quantity for our family? Not sure, but I know that I actually feel quite annoyed if I go to soak some beans and the bowl is not to be found! Sad, I know. This is a lovely, if slightly unusual way to eat fenugreek seeds…and you can feel pleased that you are also eating something that is high in protein, relatively low in carbs and fat…and has all the goodness of lentils.

Salty, sour, bitter, hot……..methi2

Fenugreek Sprouts

2 cups sprouted fenugreek seeds
2-3 hot green chillies cut into smallish lengths
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan that will be big enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow them to fry for a minute or two, until they start popping. Add the turmeric and green chillies and fry for another minute or two. Add the sprouts and keep stirring for just a few minutes. You don’t want to overcook these – better to err on the side of raw than overcooking (mainly because you do not want to kill off all the “goodness” of the sprouts through too much heat). Add salt and when it is almost cooked, add the lemon juice. You are after a hot, salty, sour and bitter taste.

Eat this as a side to your dinner, or just eat a big bowl of it and feel virtuous!

I am sending this to My Legume Love Affair here

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2009 3:30 PM

    Wow…fenugreek sprouts? That’s pretty cool – I’d never considered doing that before. Do you sprout them on cotton wool or something?

    I love bitter foods.. đŸ™‚


    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 22, 2009 8:22 PM

      Nah, I do it the easy/lazy way, in a big-ish bowl. Just wash the fenugreek and leave it to soak in plenty of water for 12-18 hours. Change the water a couple of times in that period if you can. Then drain and let it sit on your kitchen bench covered with a tea towel, or even uncovered is fine if you rinse more often. Rinse with water twice a day for the next 2-3 days until they have sprouted to the amount you want. The rinsing just stops them from drying out. If I want to get fancy I put them in a big glass jar so that some light can get to them. It does not make a huge difference though. The main thing is to have a big bowl as the sprouts will be about 4 times the amount you start out with! The sprouts are great in a salad or sandwich too.

  2. September 23, 2009 10:45 PM

    Very interesting! I’ve never seen fenugreek sprouts before đŸ™‚ I know I should eat more bitter things but I find it hard to eat them but with these spices it might be easier!

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 24, 2009 12:07 PM

      The sprouts have a very mild bitter flavour – hardly noticeable at all since the sourness from the lemon is so strong. Give it a go – it is a really nice, easy way to eat quite a lot of fenugreek.

  3. October 29, 2009 9:20 AM

    I know fenugreek dal but this!
    Am so loving this. Will do it and put it on talimpu soon.

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