Ver­sa­tile herb and spice in one

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - Visit Vicki at Red Hot Chilli Pep­per, 9/65 Bul­cock St, Caloun­dra.

I THOUGHT I would con­tinue shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about what I call “funky spices’’. These are spices that aren’t used that

of­ten in the West­ern world and are just start­ing to make their way into Aus­tralian kitchens, via the in­flu­ence of cook­ing shows on TV. Fenu­greek is both a herb and a spice and is part of the pea fam­ily. The green leaves are clas­si­fied as a herb and smell like

freshly cut hay, while the seed is clas­si­fied as a spice. The seeds are sweet smelling but in con­trast are quite bit­ter and sharp in

taste. Did you know that fenu­greek ex­tract is used in the man­u­fac­tur­ing of ar­ti­fi­cial maple syrup? So while it is es­sen­tially a fake prod­uct, at least the essence is made with a

spice, a nat­u­ral prod­uct.

Na­tive to south­ern Europe and west­ern Asia, fenu­greek is

used a lot in In­dian food, es­pe­cially cur­ries. It is an im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent in the fa­mous In­dian spice blend Panch Phora which I posted a recipe for a few months ago. Try this quick and easy Prawn Curry. Very aro­matic and very tasty.

Easy prawn masala with fenu­greek

Serves 4

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: 500g cleaned prawns 2-3 cloves gar­lic, finely diced 2 tbs ghee or veg­etable oil 2cm cubed gin­ger,

fi­nally diced or grated 1 medium tomato, diced 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 green chill­ies, finely sliced 1 heaped tbs dried fenu­greek leaves 1 cup re­duced salt chicken or fish stock 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tbs garam masala ¼ tsp turmeric

pow­der lime or le­mon juice to taste ½ tsp salt bas­mati rice and naan bread, to serve

METHOD: Mar­i­nate the prawns with the gin­ger, gar­lic, turmeric, garam masala, salt, and le­mon. Re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 min­utes.

Heat a fry­pan on medium heat and add one ta­ble­spoon of the oil. Add chopped onions, diced tomato and sliced green chill­ies.

Saute for about 5-6 min­utes un­til onions become brown. Tip into a mor­tar and pes­tle and grind into a smooth paste then add the stock. In the same fry­pan, add the re­main­ing oil. Add cumin seeds and mar­i­nated prawns and fry for 2 to 3 min­utes, stir­ring con­stantly.

Add the onion paste back in and stir. Cover and cook for 5 min­utes. Re­move the lid, add the fenu­greek leaves and sim­mer

un­til the sauce thick­ens. Serve with bas­mati rice and naan bread.

PHOTO: BHOFACK2

Fenu­greek leaves are a herb and the seed is clas­si­fied as a spice.

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