Curry leaves are a herb used in Indian — especially Southern Indian — cooking and which is called by several names in India, including karipatta. They show up in Sri Lankan cooking as well as Cambodian and Malaysian dishes. Curry leaves come from the curry leaf plant and belong to the same family as citrus fruits. Its profile is often described as being citrus-like, similar to lemongrass. So, how do you best use them? Let’s go over some of the best curry leaves uses.
Table of Contents
- In chutneys
- In tadkas
- In egg dishes
- In dal
- In rice dishes
- In karivepaku kodi kura
- In rasam
- For finishing dishes
Curry leaves show up in a variety of chutney recipes, some of which may require you to bruise the leaves with the handle of your knife or the spine of the blade. Chutneys often include curry leaves alongside spices like ginger, cumin, and chili peppers. Unlike bay leaves, curry leaves are entirely edible, so it’s not essential to remove them from a dish even though some recipes suggest that you do.
The term tadka is usually translated as tempering. Tempering in the culinary context means cooking before adding to a dish. The process of tempering spices and herbs like curry leaves typically involves frying them in ghee or another cooking fat. When frying fresh curry leaves, you should be extra watchful and not fry them for longer than a few seconds since they burn easily. When your fresh curry leaves have softened and released their flavor into the oil so that it can mingle with the scents and tastes of the other spices, remove the pan from the heat. You can fry dried curry leaves for longer than fresh ones, since they don’t burn as easily.
In egg dishes
Curry leaves go well with eggs and show up in many Indian recipes that center around eggs.
One of the staples of Indian cuisine, dal comes in many forms. Numerous dal recipes include curry leaves as one of the foundation flavors.
In rice dishes
Curry leaves go well with rice, and you may see it combined with mustard seeds and other spices for use in some rice-focused dishes.
In karivepaku kodi kura
One of the best-known dishes from the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India, karivepaku kodi kura is a chicken curry dish where curry leaves provide much of the flavor.
Curry leaves are one of the ingredients used to make rasam. Rasam is a spicy Indian soup that often includes tomatoes and is sometimes eaten on its own or can be poured over rice. Curry leaves are used in fresh or dried forms; sometimes dried curry leaves are powdered. Some experts suggest dried curry leaves are best used in dishes like rasam, where they can be cooked in water over a longer period.
Because they are dried, the leaves need extra cooking time and water to infuse their flavors, compared to fresh curry leaves that readily release their flavors when fried.
For finishing dishes
One traditional way to use fresh curry leaves is to fry them whole and add them to dishes as a finishing ingredient.