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Origin: South India
Curry Leaves, also called Karipatta, are a must-have in South Indian cooking. You'll even find these leaves being used in Sri Lankan, Cambodian, and Malaysian cooking. These wonderful leaves have a discernible nutty aroma, with slight notes of anise and citrus, and numerous health benefits.
Curry leaves are a part of the same family as citrus fruits. Their glossy green leaves are very aromatic, and they have a unique flavour all their own. Their unique taste is often described as carrying subtle notes of citrus with a hint of nuttiness. Needless to say, they are unlike anything else in your spice rack.
Curry powder and curry leaves are absolutely not the same, and cannot be substituted for each other! Curry leaves are popularly used in cooking to add flavour to dishes, such as curries, rice dishes, and daals.
Aside from being a versatile culinary herb, they offer an abundance of health benefits due to the powerful plant compounds they contain. Some preparations will call for curry leaves to be removed from a dish, but it's fine when they don't—the leaves are completely edible.
If you have ever found a green leaf in your Indian food, other than cilantro, it was probably a curry leaf! This is because Fresh Curry Leaves are a must-have in South Indian cooking. They are most often added into tempering (tadka) whole or chopped, to release their natural flavours and aromas.
Curry leaves soften when cooked and are often sautéed in oil or butter before both the fat and cooked leaves are added to dishes.
When you add them into your cooking, they will give off a nutty aroma, and slight notes of anise and citrus. If you bite directly into one, it will have a sharp taste. The only way to truly discover the taste would be to cook with it!
Here are a few ways to use curry leaves in the kitchen:
Although the ideas listed above are some common ways to use curry leaves, they’re highly versatile and can be used in many applications, so don’t be afraid to experiment with this flavourful ingredient.
We also enjoy adding these dried curry leaves to our tea sometimes. It instantly enhances the flavours & aromas. Fresh chai with curry leaves tastes so good!