Fenugreek paste

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Alan Benson

In this recipe you can substitute whatever you have on hand for some of the ingredients, such as diced boiled potatoes for rice, or cooked dried beans for lentils.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons ground fenugreek
2-4 hot chillies, to taste
salt, to taste
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons onion or spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 teaspoon Hawayij
175g lamb or chicken, boiled and finely chopped
185g lentils, boiled, (see note)
185g rice, boiled
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
or 40g ghee
bone or chicken stock, for moistening
flat breads, to serve


  1. Place the fenugreek in a bowl and add 250 ml cold water. Leave to soak for 5 hours. Pour off the excess water, then beat the fenugreek with a fork until frothy.
  2. Remove the stalks and seeds from the chillies and chop finely — take care in handling them. Mix into the fenugreek paste with salt to taste and place in a saucepan. (This mixture is the actual hulba.)
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the stock, then stir in enough stock to moisten. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and thick. Add a little more stock during heating if necessary.
  4. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve in a deep bowl, or in individual bowls if preferred, with flat breads such as khobz, malvj or pitta breads for scooping up the mixture.


  • To yield 185 g cooked lentils, simmer 125 g red lentils in 375 ml water for 15–20 minutes, until thick.
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Middle Eastern
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