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fenugreek: can I skip it?

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When making Indian dishes at home I always omit fenugreek (methi) leaves because honestly I don't think I have ever seen them in the store. Am I missing a lot of flavor by doing that? I live in a small city and sometimes even basic produce and spices require a hunt to several markets.

Would ground fenugreek seeds be a suitable replacement (if I can find that)? While researching, I read that the seeds are slightly bitter. Not sure I want that flavor in my sauce.
I have created some yummy masalas without fenugreek, but I'm curious what others think. Thanks.

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  1. If you have an indian store in your city, it should be easy to buy a small box or pack of dried methi leaves. They do add a distinctive flavor to some dishes which I like and it could be interesting to you to see what effect it has on your product. Cook a whole dish involving fresh fenugreek leaves and it will perfume your house quite a bit - a spoonful should not have that effect.. Fenugreek seed is a main component of mass market curry powder and it has a distinctive butterscotchy (to me) flavor as well as a little bitterness . Lots of indian dishes include a few whole fenugreek seeds, fried at the beginning of the recipe along with mustard seed, cumin, etc. if you cant find the leaves a little ground fenugreek seems to me like a reasonable substitute.