Fenugreek is an ancient spice, although currently not much known in the West; it has been grown as a medicinal plant in Europe during the Middle Ages (see also lovage). Today, many people in Western countries seem to dislike its flavour, which they claim to be «goaty» and bitter. It is now mostly used in the West, Central and South Asia; in India, it is popular for pickles. Dry roasting can enhance the flavour and reduce the bitterness, provided care is taken not to overheat the seeds.
Small amounts of fenugreek should be found in any good curry powders (see curry leaves). Fenugreek is also popular in the South of India and appears in the ubiquitous Tamil spice mixture sambaar podi (see cumin). Lastly, the bitter-aromatic seeds constitute an essential part of the Bengali «five spice» mixture panch phoron (see nigella).
From the Mediterranean to China.
Bitter and aromatic. The leaves’ fragrance slightly resembles lovage