Heavenly Curry Leaves

Fresh curry leaves

Fresh Curry Leaves

Having a bad day at work? The weather got you down? Had a fight with someone you love? All things that happen to everyone. How do you deal with a down day?

When the oil’s hot and the mustard seeds start sizzling, I add the curry leaves. That aroma, the bright, citrusy and fresh aroma instantly lights up my day. I love the smell of tempered spices and it never fails to transport me to a happy place.

Curry leaves are from a tree that is native to India and often grows in the wild. This herb is a must-have ingredient in most South Indian dishes and Sri Lankan curries. Curry leaves are almost always used with vegetarian food and rarely ever in meat curries.

The moniker given this herb is unfortunately very confusing. While curry leaves are used in curries, curries get their flavor from many other ingredients as well. Curry leaves are NOT what Curry Powder is made of. Curry powder is a western invention, a weak imitation of Indian spice blends. Curry powder includes many spices like coriander, cumin, chilis, and turmeric and is often used in fusion food to add a touch of India to the dish.

If you can, use fresh curry leaves as they have more flavor than dried. Fresh curry leaves will only last about a week in the fridge. Since I don’t live too close to an Indian grocery store, I buy many packs of the curry leaves when I do go. I keep a pack or two in the fridge to use within a week. I spread the rest out on paper towels on a clean surface and leave them out for 2-3 days. Once dried, I store them in an airtight box. Before using, I simply crush the leaves with the palms of my hands to release some flavor.

I’m told that curry leaves are easy to grow when it is warm out. I can’t wait for spring to try for myself! Look for seedlings or seeds of Murraya koenigii if you want to grow your own curry leaves plant.

tarka or tadka masala

A simple “tadka” of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dry red chili. this would add great flavor on Daal or lentil curry

Curry leaves can be air dried

Air dry curry leaves

curry leaves

My favorite herb!

Recipes that use curry leaves: A South Indian eggplant dish and a mixed vegetable curry

Veena’s Market kits that contains curry leaves (air dried): Delicious Daal

Online source for curry leaves: Veena’s Market pantry 

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Filed under General, India, Spices

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