Yemenite Fenugreek (Hilbe)Shulamith
Hilbe, like beer, is an acquired taste. I learned to love it from my mother-in-law, who always has some on her table along with the Skhoog and the grated tomatoes. It is especially tasty as a garnish in a hearty Yemenite soup, but I have learned to have a bowl of Hilbe with just about any meal.
This recipe, oddly enough, cannot be doubled. If you want to make a larger amount of Hilbe, you must use two or more bowls.
Hilbe is a legume. Its English name is Fenugreek. Bet you didn’t know that.
Recent research has confirmed what the Yemenites have always said: that Hilbe lowers blood sugar. It turns out that Hilbe is very rich in soluble fibers and in minerals.
- 2 TBS coarsely ground Hilbe
- juice of three lemons (in the summer, when lemons are not in season, you can use a good-quality bottled lemon juice without preservatives)
- a hefty pinch of salt
- one ripe tomato (this non-traditional addition I learned from my mother-in-law’s Moldavian care-giver, Elvira, who is an excellent Yemenite cook).
Place the ground Hilbe in a medium bowl and cover with four cups of water. Leave it to soak overnight or during the day for eight hours or so.
Pour the water off, without disturbing the Hilbe. You should drink the water, which is the most potent sugar fighting component, according to the latest research.
Add the lemon juice and salt to the Hilbe and whisk it with a hand whisk for a minute or two until it turns into a frothy, custard-like consistency.
Using a hand grater laid over the bowl, grate the tomato directly into the mixture and give it a few more whisks to mix the tomato in.
A 1/2 cup serving of Hilbe has 18 calories, of which 12 are carbs (almost all fiber)