Moose Spice 4: Coriander, Cumin, Fennel and Fenugreek


Allspice, Basil and Black Pepper

Bourbon Vanilla, Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cloves

Coriander, Koriander, koriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Seeds, it is the seeds we use for curry etc. From the mortar or industrially ground. Fresh leaves taste nothing like the seeds and are supposed to be used instead of parsley. I don’t want to know about that. Yet.

Cumin, Kreuzkümmel, kumin/Rimska kumina (Cuminum cyminum)

You know the story by now: Indian dishes, ground in the mortar. But be careful: cumin is not the same as caraway (Kümmel, kumina (Carum carvi), to be found in Aquavit).

Fennel, Fenchel, komarček/sladki janež (Foeniculum vulgare)

To tell you the truth, I hate fennel, just like everything else that tastes like anise. I did try several times to include fresh fennel bulbs into some of the more daring vegetable dishes I tend to make on sunny days and I gave it up quite soon. This sweetness that doesn’t want to be really sweet but wants to be several other things at the same time, a medicine, and something bitter, and toothpaste-like – nothing for me.
As it goes, I still appreciate fennel seeds as a part of the so-called Indian dishes we prepare at home (“so-called” because I don’t even want to imagine what real Indians would say about our … culinary escapades). And when I am coughing I will swallow tons of fennel honey and feel good. Go figure. Or, erm, don’t.

Fenugreek seeds, Bockshornklee, sabljasti triplat oz. grško seno (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

I have no idea why we have fenugreek at home, but I do like it and use it a lot. Could be that we bought it for dal or we wanted to mix our own curry at some point, don’t know. Recently, I’ve been using it as a substitute for devil’s dung, aka asafoetida, which we don’t have at home though it is an integral part of our beloved palak paneer – it seems we may have forgotten to search for it or maybe we did but we didn’t like the smell…

OK, OK, the nutshell: I don’t remember when or why anyone here decided to buy fenugreek and to use it instead of asafoetida and I have no idea why we don’t have any asafoetida at home. So what: fenugreek does the job, too.



3 responses to “Moose Spice 4: Coriander, Cumin, Fennel and Fenugreek

  • Sunshine

    I don’t cook as much as you and probably use only about 10% of the spices you name. But still… for some strange reason I find those post very interesting. Will you write some more?

  • alcessa

    I think there must be the right time for wanting to cook every day… You know, if working a lot, some free time around the noon can be good for one’s health, because it means a break from sitting in front of the computer.
    Also, I/we don’t go for culinary repetition, so I need all those spices…

    Yes, I am going to publish the whole series, it is ordered alphabetically – thank you for your nice words 🙂 . It seems I am really hooked on Wikipedia research and I want to check “facts” about sooo many things … 🙂 You know.

  • Moose Spice 8: Spicy Things We Usually Do « moosings

    […] Coriander, Cumin, Fennel and Fenugreek […]

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