As a South Indian I am lost without my kariveppilai – Tamil for curry leaves. My family comes from Kerala, a green state on the southwest coast of India. Nothing we cook is complete without curry leaves, dessert is the only exception. We use them in fiery red fish curries and summery yoghurt drinks, in beefy beef fry and slurpable rasam, in chutneys and pickles. In this part of the world, food looks bare without the curry leaves. Below is everything you need to know to understand their meaning and use them while cooking at home.
What are curry leaves?
Native to India (and completely independent of Curry powder) Curry leaves are glossy, pointed, almond-shaped, pinnate leaves with a complex citrus flavor that is often ascribed to lemongrass, anise and. is described remindingly asafetida– but none of these comparisons do it justice. You have to taste and smell a curry leaf to grasp its essence. They are known for their medicinal properties and are also used in other parts of Asia, including Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
How do you use it?
Curry leaves are usually used at the beginning of the cooking process or as a final highlight. Typically they are combined with mustard seeds and Coconut oil to form a bouquet of aromas. Put a teaspoon of mustard seeds in hot, shimmering coconut oil. Turn off the stove, a handful of curry leaves and, if you like, a few dried red chillies and a whiff Turmeric powder. This exquisitely aromatic oil serves as a flavor base to which other ingredients are added. In some dishes like from, This Tadka (or Chhonk as it is called in Hindi) is poured over the court at the end. The taste is the star, but the leaves are usually picked and pushed to the side of the plate instead of being eaten. Curry leaves develop the full depth of their aroma when fried and infused in oil and are rarely used as a raw side dish, as this is how they are served bitter and chewy.
If you are new to curry leaves, boldly experiment. Fry them with potatoes. Save dal with the crispness and colors of a curry leaf tadka. Swirl it into dips. Bring Popcorn alive with the swing of crushed, fried curry leaves. Add complexity Fried chicken. Give dahi toast one try.
Where can I find curry leaves?
A few things to keep in mind when exploring the versatility of curry leaves: Curry leaves have a flavor all of their own that are almost impossible to replace. If you can’t get your hands on them, my advice is to leave them out entirely. You can find them in South Asian grocery stores and online from Amazon and Kalustyans. Avoid dried, dark, or wet looking leaves, and keep them away from heat and moisture if possible. I refrigerate them in resealable plastic bags between paper towels for ideal freshness and texture. They stay fine for about a week. You could use dried or frozen leaves in a pinch, but neither is a real addition to the fresh variety.
And it’s worth noting that while curry leaves make up a large part of South Indian cuisine, they aren’t seen nearly as often in North Indian cuisine – the world of paneer, tandoori chicken, and naan, which are a large part of the food you’ll find are used in Indian restaurants in the US. That’s in part why, unlike ghee or turmeric, they haven’t made a meaningful place in America’s culinary vocabulary. Madhur Jaffrey, once the grande dame of Indian cuisine called, “I hope further [curry leaves] will be America’s next lemongrass. ”That was about twenty years ago. It’s time.
All-purpose coconut curry
Here is a simple and versatile, rich coconut curry to add to your meal preparation. This recipe makes enough sauce for three different dishes (yellow chicken curry with vegetables, fish curry and butternut squash and green bean stew).