Hilbe Yemenite Fenugreek Paste

  • Sep, 14 , 22
  • Shuli Madmone


3 - 3 1/2

5 cups cold water
3 tbsp ground fenugreek seed
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh zhug paste
1 small Roma tomato (grated)
3/4 tsp salt


In the Yemeni and Ethiopian food culture, they make a sauce/condiment called "hilbe" that is made from fenugreek seeds. They ground and soak the seeds for at least 3 hours until it turns into a soft paste that is whipped until creamy and smooth and then blended with Zhug. After blending, add the hilbe to the soup or use it as an all-purpose spread and condiment, much in the manner that Americans use ketchup and salsa.


Place the ground fenugreek seed in a medium bowl and cover with five cups of water. Leave it to soak for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Pour off the water without disturbing the hilbe, leaving a moist paste. Using an electric mixer, beat the hilbe paste and gradually add about 1/3 cup of cold water until it turns into a frothy, custard-like consistency.


Add lemon juice, Zhug paste, grated tomato and salt. Mix well and adjust seasonings to taste. The sauce should be very spicy.


I hope you enjoy this national treasure as much as we do!