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Uses For Curry Leaves

Slofoodgroup Team April 10, 2024

What Are Curry Leaves?

If you are looking for a way to elevate your cooking, consider adding curry leaves to your spice cabinet. This earthy, somewhat citrusy spice incorporates an unmatched flavor into everything from traditional South Indian dishes like sambols, chutneys, and dals to fusion creations like pesto, salad dressings, and even ice cream!

Many folks are surprised when they first learn that curry leaves are not at all related to curry powder. Curry leaves are the whole leaves of Murraya koenigii plant and are not typically an ingredient found in curry powder. In contrast, curry powder is a spice blend containing a variety of other ingredients, typically including turmeric, ginger, ground peppercorns, ground coriander seeds, ground cumin seeds, and more.

Curry leaves are also different from curry powder in the ways in which they are used to incorporate flavor into dishes. While curry powder is most commonly sprinkled over or stirred into curries, masalas, and vindaloos to infuse into the entirety of the dish during the cooking process, different methods are employed to capture the curry leaf flavor. Let’s look at the ways in which the curry leaves are used.

How Are Curry Leaves Used in Cooking?

Temper Curry Leaves in Oil

Curry leaves are typically tempered in oil to release their essence. The oil is then used to cook meats and vegetables and/or stirred in toward the end of the cooking process to finish dishes.

Use Curry Leaves to Make a Tadka

In Southern Indian dishes, a Tadka is created by tempering the curry leaves and other spices in clarified butter, or ghee. As the ghee is cooked, it melts and the oil is often stirred into other dishes to enrich the flavors.

Grind or Crumble Dried Curry Leaves

While cooking the leaves in oil or ghee is the most common method of releasing the flavor of the curry leaves, this is not the only method of incorporating that flavor into dishes. In some instances, the dried curry leaves will be ground or crumbled and added directly to braises, curries, and marinades.

Curry leaves are an impressive ingredient capable of incorporating layers of flavor and an unparalleled bite to dishes. Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, finding fresh curry leaves can be difficult. Luckily, when proper care is taken to harvest and preserve curry leaves, they will maintain loads of flavor when dried. Our curry leaves are carefully inspected and hand-harvested from sustainable family farms in Sri Lanka to ensure our customers only receive the highest-quality dried curry leaves.