Spices and Seasons – Curry Leaves

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 Today’s post is about curry leaves, which is part of what I call the curry conundrum or confusion. By this I mean the fact that most people still seem to have some kind of feeling that curry is a single spice and is present in all Indian dishes. Now, I hope that some of you who have been following this column by now have realized that none of this is true.

Because, there really is no such thing and curry in the Indian spice lexicon, sure there are all purpose spice blends called curry powders and they often vary based on the chef’s preference and is also used on select dishes as needed.

The curry leaf, or course is a completely different creature. It is the leaf of the curry leaf plant that is a native to Southern India and Sri Lanka. These leaves are used in curry powder blends and do add a characteristic sharp and citrus like scent to the spice mixture. However, they also work well by themselves.

Curry Leaves are available in most Indian grocery stores, usually found in small sealed packets containing a few sprigs of the leaves just like I have shown you in the picture. These leaves keep well for two or three weeks in the refrigerator and freeze well for a longer period of time. They do tend to blacken in the freezer. These leaves are perfectly edible and it really depends on your taste and preference whether you want to actually eat it or discard it once it is cooked. In stews, they tend to add fragrance much like bay leaves.

People who tend to try the curry leaf are usually hooked on to the fragrance, whether you are a pro or a novice using the curry leaf, I hope that you will like my quick fix recipe for Spicy Stir Fried Shrimp – Tawa Masala Shrimp.

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About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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