Today summer's spicy, pungent and sweet flavors were inspired by a beautifully written (with equally beautiful photographed) blog article on Fennel, Fenugreek and Mustard Seeds at Pure Vegetarian. A pure vegetarian I am not, but I am more than happy to learn from those who are.
Looking for the perfect mix of summer flavors to be more attuned to the season I uncovered an Indian grocery store called Indian Sweet and Spices. Located in Atwater, a nearby neighborhood in Los Angeles. you'll find no small spice containers in this store. Consider yourself warned. Unless you're planning to host an Indian wedding this month, I suggest bringing a spice-sharing friend and splitting the bounty.
It was at Indian Sweet and Spices I found my summer spices, both bitter and pungent. First, there was the beauty and utility of fenugreek. Fenugreek, or methi, is a spice bitter in taste and, admittedly, prone to overwhelm some, especially our sweet-toothed American set. But it's good for you. As Lakshmi from Pure Vegetarian writes, "bitter flavours are important in prompting bile, which aids digestion." So it's time to imbibe on the bitter side. If you need 10 reasons to eat it, look no further than an article entitled, aptly, "10 Health Benefits of Fenugreek."
Alongside the fenugreek was a uber-bag of mustard seeds which I've learned, lean towards the pungent. Now I've got the bitter (fenugreek), the pungent (mustard seeds), and the sweet (corn). The spice?
Squeeze in a couple of jalapenos for good (and food-a-phallic) measure. The summer spice trio is complete.
It's too hot to follow a recipe. So just follow my lead. Or change it up. Try another bitter this or add a pungent that. Most importantly, continue to enjoy the summer. Live the season!
Cut corn kernels off a cob or two of fresh picked corn. Heat some oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and fenugreek, maybe 1/2 teaspoon each, cover, and cook until mustard seeds pop. Add 1 or 2 of your favorite chiles or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped, cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in turmeric, fresh or dried. Stir in the corn kernels, cook until warm, and salt to taste. Sprinkle chopped cilantro for both garnish and more pungent flavor. Serve.