Summer in New York has been rather unseasonable this year. It's rained here on average four of seven days for several weeks. And I'm not just talking passing sun showers or soft overnight soakers, but furious downpours and volcanic thunderstorms that tear the limbs off trees and turn the gutters into the great Mississippi. They last for hours at a stretch. Noah is scheduled to float by any day now.
Even though I don't get what's going on with the atypical weather lately, it does teach a lesson that nothing is all that predictable, not unlike the legume recipe failure I experienced the other day. It wasn't a particularly complicated nor uncommon dish; I used dried beans, the go-to ingredient most cooks turn to when they prepare legumes. Disgusted with the grayish mud of a meal I labored over, I scraped the heap in the trash, and began rummaging around my cupboards for something that would soothe my mood. And there they were: a half-pound bag of fenugreek seeds, something I frequently use as a spice, but certainly not as a key ingredient. Fenugreek, though not generally thought of as a legume, is, indeed, a member of that nitrogen-fixing plant family best known for beans, string and otherwise.
It wasn't at all easy to find a recipe that calls for a large amount of fenugreek seeds. I'm still not quite sure how I serendipitously landed on this fabulous Yemenite hot sauce, but I can pretty confidently predict that hilbeh will take you by storm. ~
Hilbeh - Based on several recipes I researched. Here is one of them, from 1 World Recipes.
2 tablespoons dried fenugreek seeds (Soaked overnight covered with cold water, then rinsed and drained. Soaked volume is 1/2 cup.)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
4-5 serranos or other comparably hot fresh peppers, seeds and membranes removed if you want to control the heat
1 large fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, warm olive oil briefly over medium heat, then add onion and garlic. Sauté until they are translucent and golden, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes). Add fenugreek seeds, cilantro, hot peppers,and tomato stirring to heat through. In a separate, dry skillet, toast the spices until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Tip spices into larger skillet and mix through. Remove from heat. Transfer hilbeh to food processor or blender and grind into a coarse paste (about 1/2 minute). Transfer to serving bowl. Top with lemon juice and salt, and gently toss with fork. Can be enjoyed warm or chilled. Makes approximately 2 cups. Serve with crackers, pita, or lakhoach, a traditional Yemenite flatbread (recipe link follows).
Lakhoach - From the Lynne's Country Kitchen recipeThis post is for Harini (Sunshine Mom) of Tongue Ticklers hosting My Legume Love Affair 13. The round-up will be online in a few days. I can't wait to see what you all have gotten up to this past month.
This recipe is so elementary that it's impossible to adapt. I have not rewritten it for this post.~~~~~~~