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Helba or Helbeh (Fenugreek): sweet eggless cake recipe, tasty and satisfying

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Middle Eastern

Recipe: Helba or Helbeh

PHotographed by Robert KapataisSummary: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant in the family Fabaceae. Fenugreek is used both as an herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). It is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop.

Helba or some times spelled Helbeh is a traditional middle eastern sweet, is also prepared for new moms after delivery (same as caraway mugli pudding), it’s so good any time of the year. It is similar to the Namoura recipe, a dough made of semolina flour (smeed) and all purpose flour, with some Fenugreek seeds, then sweetened with sugar syrup when it’s hot just out of the oven. I have to hide this one from my husband other wise the kids would never have a chance to get their share.



  1. Wash fenugreek seed, put in sauce pan, add 1 cup hot water and bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce and simmer for 1 minte.
  3. Prepare the yeast mixture : mix yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and warm water and let it rise .
  4. Meanwhile, mix semolina flour, all purpose flour, sugar,  baking powder.
  5. Add oil to the flours mixture.
  6. Mix well to combine by rubbing the mixture with your hands.
  7. Add yeast mixture.
  8. Important point to make sure the water you’re mixing the yeast with is NOT hot, just warm.
  9. Drain fenugreek seeds. DON’T throw the water away.
  10. Add the seeds to the flours mixture and mix then add some of the reserved water to the dough and work it out till it’s not dry and not very sticky.
  11. Transfer dough to a greased round 15 inch baking tray.
  12. Press to fill the tray. Level with palm of your hand. Cut into diamond shaped pieces.
  13. Cover and leave to rest in warm place for at least 1 hour.
  14. Bake Helba in medium 400F (200C) preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or till golden.
  15. Take out of the oven and pour syrup all over, and leave aside to absorb all syrup. Cut and serve.

Cooking time (duration): 50 Minutes

Meal type: dessert

Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Frontier Fenugreek Seed Whole, 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)

  • Three 16-oz. bags of fenugreek seed

Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein and in some cultures both the leaves and seeds are consumed as a food. As a seasoning, the seeds are used whole or ground in a variety of ethnic cuisines.

Botanical name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Also known as Greek hay seed, or trigonella, fenugreek is a member of the Leguminosae, or pea and bean family. Fenugreek’s Latin name Foenum graecum, means Greek hay; the ancients used it for hay, as well as food and medicine.

fenugreekThe fenugreek plant is an

List Price: $ 12.60


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