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Are there any spices you're not supposed to toast?

As a general rule, I thought it always enhanced the flavor of whole spices to lightly toast them first. I just did this to some fenugreek and it smelled not-so-tasty.

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

asked over 3 years ago
2 answers 1644 views
added over 3 years ago

From experience I do know that fenugreek is incredibly strong in flavor and after taste. Not only just the seeds, but the sprouts. Just takes a little bit of fenugreek, not matter what the form. Was at a raw foods fast a while ago, and when they served fenugreek it was with us for 48 hours after. It is wonderful and healthy, and needs a light touch.

Looking forward to what others have to say.

added over 3 years ago

toasted fenugreek is usually added to Indian pickles, the slight bitterness complements the tart lemons & mangoes beautifully,
Coming to think of it, almost all spice blends that call for fenugreek in Indian cuisine have it in a toasted form. The seeds tend to be very tough otherwise & have a glutinous nature when added to a liquid medium otherwise. (kinda like wet gelatinous chia seeds) toasting takes care of it. Its bitter by nature, toasted or otherwise, but toasting tends to bring out a musky note, indispensable to Indian spice blends. Its never really added alone to any Indian dish. (although you can use the dry leaves)