What Are Curry Leaves?

curry leaves

explanation: small thin green leaves that grow on the ground Muraya Koenigi plant

Flavor profile: earthy, herbal, citrus

Related dishes: South Asia in particular South Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani cuisine

Storage: Raw curry leaves in a resealable bag can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks and in the freezer for about 2 months. Dry leaves will last about 6 months.

“If you’ve never cooked with curry leaves, you haven’t really cooked,” says Cardos Legacy, an organization dedicated to food-focused projects in honor of her late husband, Floyd Cardos. says Barca Cardos, founder of No, she didn’t mention curry powder, which is made up of various spices that foreigners tend to associate with Indian cuisine.

Curry leaves are beautiful in their own right and are rich in oils that add a citrus flavor when used in cooking. The ingredients are most prominently South Asian, particularly in South Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani cuisine. It can and often blooms with oil to release aromatic and flavorful oils.

To learn more about curry leaves, including where they come from, how to buy them, and how to use them, we speak to Cardos and Anand Prasad, Founder of Prasad’s Curry Leaves, a curry leaf farm in Los Angeles that Prasad started. I was. He and his family brought seeds from India for some guidance.

What is curry leaf?

curry leaves Muraya Koenigi A plant native to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. It belongs to the same family as citrus and rhubarb and can grow up to about 20 feet tall in tropical climates. Documents dating back to the 1st century AD mention the use of curry leaves to flavor vegetables. It has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve everything from diabetes to high cholesterol.

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Aside from the citrus notes, it’s hard to pinpoint the flavor of curry leaves. It contains the compound pinene, which is present as the aromatic molecule in eucalyptus, oranges and marijuana. Sabinene found in marjoram, black pepper and nutmeg. Caryophyllene found in black pepper, cloves and cinnamon gives it a complex flavor with herbal, floral, woody and citrus notes.

How to buy and store curry leaves

While nothing beats the flavor and aroma you get from fresh curry leaves, they can be more difficult to obtain than dried ones. You can find fresh online from the place.

When buying fresh leaves, Cardos recommends looking for small, young, tender leaves. She prepares them by first removing them from the base of the tough central stems, which don’t retain much flavor, wiping them clean without washing, and then placing them in a ziplock bag before storing them in the refrigerator for at least two weeks. Or up to 2 months in the freezer.

However, dry curry leaves offer little concessions. “There’s nothing better than fresh curry leaves,” he says Prasad. Its taste and aroma are much stronger than that of dried leaves. However, even if you’re looking for dried ones, Cardoz recommends starting fresh if possible and drying them yourself. Transfer to a resealable bag containing silica gel desiccant.

Ground curry leaves are also quite popular in the market. Prasad has a collaboration version with Burlap & Barrel, but you can also find ground curry leaves at most international spice markets.

curry leaf recipe

“I can’t remember making one without curry leaves,” says Cardoz. It is commonly used in tadka, a process in which spices are blossomed in hot oil or ghee and used as a finisher over dishes like dal. “If you go to the kitchen and you don’t have curry leaves, why do you have tadoka?”

“It’s what you put in for aroma, texture and crunch,” says Cardos. “It just adds flavor.” As with bay leaves when cooking, some people prefer to remove the curry leaves from the plate before serving, but Cardoz looks forward to eating them. .

“My kids will pull it off,” she says. “Give it to me, I will eat it.

Curry leaves are often used in tadka as a finishing flavor and aroma addition to the dish, but they can also be cooked into recipes as a base aromatic ingredient. Ground curry leaves can be used in the same way. For example, when preparing a dish of peas and potatoes in tomato sauce, in the oil he sprouts a leaf or two before adding onions, garlic, ginger and other aromatic ingredients. She dips the curry leaves into the sauce and simmers it to bring out the flavor even more.

“It’s 99 cents at an Indian grocery store,” says Cardoz. “Try it in addition to your food. You’ll be amazed.” In the case of 99 cents, it’s hard to argue against that logic.

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