Yemeni hilbeh is stirred into stews at the end of cooking, or served at room temperature as a condiment to accompany dishes, or simply eaten with Middle-Eastern flatbread. Chopped tomatoes are sometimes added; in the Jewish community in Calcutta, where it’s common, a little fresh ginger is used. Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.
- 2 tbsp ground fenugreek seeds
- large bunch of cilantro—leaves and small stems
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- seeds from 3–4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1⁄4 tsp caraway seeds
- 2–4 hot green chile peppers, seeds removed and chopped
- juice of 1–2 lemons
Directions: soak the ground fenugreek in plenty of hot water and leave overnight, or for at least 8 hours. It will separate into clear liquid at the top and a gelatinous mixture in the bottom of the bowl. Pour off the liquid, then set aside. Blend the cilantro, garlic, and all the other ingredients with the juice of 1 lemon. Add the fenugreek and blend again. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed. A little water can be beaten in to thin the mixture; it ought to be like a soft paste. The texture must be slightly frothy from the fenugreek, and the taste pungent and slightly bitter.