Kasuri methi is sometimes spelled kasoori methi. Sometimes this herb is referred to simply as methi leaves. All are versions of the name given to dried fenugreek leaves. Fenugreek is one of those plants that provide both a culinary herb and a spice. The leaves are the kasuri methi herb and the seeds are the fenugreek spice.
The kasuri part of the name comes from the Kasur (or Kasoor) region in Punjab where fenugreek grows wild.
Fenugreek is a relative of the pea plant that was being used 6,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence shows that humans were eating the spice in 4000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians used it as a medicine for treating burns and inducing childbirth. It was also important when preparing corpses for mummification.
In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates used fenugreek leaves and the Ancient Romans considered it an effective treatment for fevers and other conditions.
Fenugreek isn’t widely cultivated in the United States, so kasuri methi leaves are not well known. However, you may be able to find it in grocery stores that sell Indian ingredients.
Kasuri methi flavor profile
Kasuri methi has a pungent, musky smell that is similar to that of the fenugreek seed but not quite as intense. Kasuri methi has a herbaceous, savory flavor similar to a combination of celery and fennel. There is a subtle bitterness in the aftertaste.
Health benefits of kasuri methi
Kasuri methi can provide compounds that you need for good health, such as:
- Vitamins: Kasuri methi is a source of vitamins C and K. The drying process removes much of the vitamin C found in the fresh leaves but not all of it.
- Flavonoids: Kasuri methi contains the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, which have powerful antioxidant properties.
- Minerals: You will get a significant amount of calcium and iron from a serving of kasuri methi.
- Fiber: Kasuri methi is a good source of dietary fiber, which is an essential nutrient for bowel and heart health.
Kasuri methi in your diet can treat certain health conditions or protect you from them. Those conditions include:
- High cholesterol: The rutin in kasuri methi helps to lower bad cholesterol, also known as LDL.
- Inflammatory conditions: The rutin in kasuri methi also fights inflammation, which means that it can protect you from heart disease and other serious conditions.
- Diabetes: The dietary fiber here can help to lower blood sugar, which may help to improve glucose tolerance.
- Constipation: The fiber in kasuri methi absorbs water in the gut, which adds bulk to stool so that it moves through the intestines quickly.
Kasuri methi often shows up among bread ingredients: it is commonly used in the doughs for naan and paratha. Another traditional way to use it is to crumble the leaves over curries that feature lamb, mutton and other gamy meats. Kasuri methi is added near the end of cooking time to the lamb stew from Iran called ghormeh sabzi. Kasuri methi can be used with vegetable curries as well. It pairs very well with lentils. It is also a great match for high-fat ingredients like butter and cream.
Kasuri methi goes very well with potatoes and is used to make the dish aloo methi. You can make a Western version by adding some of the dry leaves to mashed potatoes. Kasuri methi is also a tea herb.