Fenugreek is used in the form of seeds and leaves. The fenugreek seed is ochre in color and the seeds are small multi-dimensional polygons. The shapes range from rhombic to almost cube like shapes. It is called Methi in Hindi and Bengali.
The taste of the seeds is slightly bitter, they have a strong maple like aroma, it gives curry powder its characteristic flavor. Fenugreek, is used whole usually tempering it in oil, since this mellows it sharp flavors and give it a slightly nutty consistency. It is used in moderation when ground. It is a popular spice in Indian cooking, and is a part of several spice blends and mixtures. Fenugreek has several medicinal qualities and is also used by nursing mothers to increase their milk supply. It is also supposed to have qualities that assist in digestion.
The leaves of the fenugreek plant are clover shaped and are used as a green. The leaves grow easily and in the NY area can be planted in spring, summer and fall. It takes about six weeks for the plant to be ready for harvesting. I have found the flavor of these fresh greens to be closer to the ones I have tasted inIndia. Fenugreek leaves are available in most Indian stores, usually in the winter and spring months. These greens are used with chicken, lentils and mixed into flour to make flatbreads.
The leaves are also dried and sold in this form. These dried leaves are sold in packages called Kasuri Methi. The dried leaves are very useful to have around. They stay well and retain their flavor for a long time and are most typically used for curries such as the butter chicken, they can also be used for the flatbreads that I have been talking about.
Some of the recipes, featuring fenugreek on this site that might interest you, are,