Greek hay- Cooking with Fenugreek

Venthayam(Methi in Hindi and Fenugreek in English) is a regular herb used in South Indian cooking, atleast once a week. Most of the spice powders will have the addition of roasted fenugreek, and it is also common in pickles to act as a stabilizer.

Both the leaves and seeds are used for cooking and flavoring, though they taste slightly bitter. Besides cooking, Fenugreek has a lot of medicinal uses:

– Fenugreek seeds help to lower cholesterol levels.

– The seeds are used as a cure(to control) diabetes (Check with the doctor first before using, as there can be some side effects)

– For women, fenugreek seeds are a good cure for Menopause and PMS. Regular use of fenugreek will increase lactation for nursing mothers. But if taken during pregnancy, the fenugreek infused water can induce labor, because of this use, it is also given during labor to help in the process of child birth. Fenugreek seeds with rice or Urad Dal(black lentil gram) is made into a soft pudding and that also helps to strengthen the uterus.

– Soaking a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in half a cup of yogurt and taking it in the morning will reduce body heat.

– Fenugreek seeds with yogurt is a good cure for uncomfortable tummy (Diarrhea).

– When used with yogurt or vinegar as a conditioner, fenugreek seed paste can help in hair growth.

How to use fenugreek in cooking:

I like using fenugreek seeds for a spicy tamarind sauce and the leaves for a comforting rice dish(Khichdi).

Methi Khichdi: (Vegetables, rice and lentils with Fenugreek leaves)

Ingredients: serves-2

Rice- 1 cup
Lentils(yellow or green moong beans)- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder- 2 tsp
Green chilies-2
Chopped Ginger and Garlic- 1 tsp each
Red onions- Chopped-1/4 cup
Fenugreek leaves- 1 cup
Mixed vegetables (carrot, peas,cauliflower, potato, beans)- all together- 1 cup
Olive oil- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cinnamon sticks- 1″ piece
Bay leaf-1
Cilantro leaves- to garnish


This dish can be prepared as a one pot dish, in a slow cooker, in a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. With mild spices and vegetables, it is the comfort food for a weekend brunch or a weekday dinner. It is very simple to prepare this khichdi and you can throw in all the veggies you want if you want to clear out the fridge. Whichever way you cook, add lot of water to cook the rice.

Stove top: Wash the lentils and rice, keep aside.Heat olive oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, bay leaf and cinnamon sticks. Fry well for a minute, add onions, green chilies, ginger and garlic and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the fenugreek leaves, chopped vegetables, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and stir fry well for another 2-3 minutes. Add about 6 cups of water, cover and let it simmer. Once the water is boiling, add the lentils and rice and simmer for 25 minutes or till the rice is cooked. Once in a while, mix the veggies and rice well and mash it as you cook. The more you mash them all together, the more tasty it till be. Once all of the veggies and rice is well mashed and is cooked through, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with spiced yogurt(Kadhi).

Pressure cooker: Follow almost the same method but instead of waiting till the veggies are cooked, add rice and lentils and pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Rice Cooker: Cook till stir frying the vegetables in a pan. In the rice cooker, add water, rice and lentils and transfer the stir fried vegetables to the rice cooker. Cover and let it cook like normal rice.

Slow cooker: Stir fry the vegetables in the pan, transfer the rice, lentils and the vegetables to the slow cooker. Add atleast 8 cups of water (slow cooker needs more water than a rice cooker), set it on high (3 hours) or low(8 hours) for the rice to cook.

Cooking with Fenugreek Seeds:

Appalam Vathakozhambu (Poppadams in spicy tamarind sauce)

Can you cook without any vegetable to make a sauce? That too with poppadams? Sure you can. The simplest of all sauces in South Indian cooking, a favorite for summer season to have with yogurt rice.

Ingredients: (Serves-2)

Poppadams (about 14 each)

Green chilies- 2 each

Red Chilies- 2 each

Curry Leaves- 5

Tamarind- 1 small lemon size

Red Chili Powder- 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp

Chana dal- 1 tsp

Asafoetida- 2 pinches

Salt- to taste

Gingerly oil- 4 tbsp (You can also use light olive oil)

Rice flour- 1 tbsp

To be ground to a powder

Coriander seeds- 1.5 tsp

Red Chilies-4

Chana dal- 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp


Soak the tamarind in about 200 ml of hot water. You can also substitute 1/4 tsp of tamarind paste for this. Squeeze out the juice from the tamarind, add another 100 ml of water, extract the juice again, filter and discard the pulp.

Roughly break the poppadams into two. Slit green chilies lengthwise.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel(kadai) and add hing and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add chana dhal, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves ,red chilies and green chilies. Stir fry for a minute. Add the poppadams and salt and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and stir fry till the raw smell of the red chili powder disappears.

Pour the 300 ml of tamarind water into the pan and simmer for 15-20minutes(tiill poppadams are tender). The tamarind water should have reduced to at least 1/2 of its original volume.

In the mean time, toast(dry fry) the coriander seeds,red chilies, chana dal, fenugreek seeds to a golden brown color. Cool and grind to a fine powder. This powder is my version of the vathakozhambu powders sold in stores. I grind it fresh, but you can also sprinkle some store bought vathakozhambu powder if you want.

In a bowl, mix about 3 tbsp of water and rice flour into a thick paste. Add the ground powder to this paste and add these to the boiling kozhambu. Stir well to avoid any lumps.

Let it simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Switch off. Serve hot with rice and spicy potato stir fry or stuffed  okras.

The Methi Khichdi is my entry for Yasmeen Health Nut’s Bitter- Better Health Event.

The appalam kozhambu is my entry for cooking with fenugreek seeds byDenufood an event started by Priya.

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18 Comments to “Greek hay- Cooking with Fenugreek”

  1. Sayantani says:

    thats a new dish to me but looks very comforting!

  2. Asha says:

    Catching slowly with blogs today. It’s raining and snowed slightly, not much and I had to return the DVDs and then cook. Just done.Phew!

    Methi Kichdi looks yum, I got some fresh Methi last week and have frozen them! 😀

    Happala gravy looks delcious, love the color of those Happala.

  3. indosungod says:

    I am ready for vatha kozhambu any time. I even eat with chapatis.

  4. Jagruti says:


    that’s a lovely methi khichdi..looks tempting..Happala gravey looks so colourful..thanx for sharing..

  5. Cham says:

    Aah we make kootu with papad vathakuzhambu is dam heaven! Wonderful dish!

  6. Priya says:

    Its has been a long i have appalam vathakuzhambu..yummm!!thanks for sharing so many useful infos sis..

  7. Oh wow the popadam curry looks very deliicous and yummy!!! havent tried them I have bookmarked it!!! Menthi is so good I always ensure I use them once in 10 days!!!

  8. BDSN says:

    Hi Ruchika,

    I want to thank for one of your prev post on Home Remedies for Sinus Infection. It is a such good compilation of all useful home remedies . I tried the ajwain remedy for my toddler’s sinus and it has really helped in breaking down the mucus and sleep better.he still has some congestion left ..but he is much much better shape Now..I really want to thank you for a good post..

    I love your vathakolambu recipe…Are these popadums fried or the raw ones? The picture looks like it is a raw one..

  9. ruchikacook says:

    @ BSDN: You are welcome, that remedy is the only thing that works for me, glad to hear that it helped you. The poppadams are raw, but they are fried along with the tadka ingredients then the tamarind water is added.

  10. PJ says:

    wow, what an informative post, Ruchika! Only after reading this I knew that I didn’t know anything much about fenugreek.. love that khichadi!

  11. wow appalam gravy sounds damn interesting and looks very tempting…nice recipe and methi khichdi also looks so good and quiet healthy dishes too….

  12. Jayashree says:

    I love appalam vathal kozhambu…..I’ll take that and some curd rice over a fancy meal any day.

  13. Suparna says:

    papad curry is something that I knew… this combo is new to me…I’ll keep this recipe bookmarked :)

  14. This is delight full and Joanne being ur sweetfren too, am inviting u here for her little party(its her birthday dear -i know that u know dear) which is a suprise party for her …do leave her a wish in the sprinkles ok… feeds arent working or updating ,so am trying my best to find all her pals to leave her a wish in the sprinkles before she gets there or even after….will ya help too to make it a little sucess….and leave her a wish too?

  15. Methi Khichadi looks so yumm and delicious… Poppadams in spicy tamarind sauce is very new to me… sounds interesting!

  16. Joanne says:

    Thanks for all of the info/fun facts about fenugreek! It sounds like a really great seed…I’m definitely going to have to use it more!

    This looks like a great dish. So full of flavor.

  17. such a variety of recipes out of one main ingredient- Fenugreek and along with its info..too good..

  18. vanamala says:

    Perfect very nice

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