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Ingredient

Curry Leaves

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What is it?

These dark-green spear-shaped leaves are highly aromatic and pleasantly bitter, a mainstay of Indian cooking. As the name suggests, they smell like curry, but they are not an ingredient in curry powder, which is a multispice blend. Indian cooks generally fry curry leaves in cooking oil (often with other whole spices) before adding other ingredients. They look a little like bay leaves, but unlike bay, curry leaves can be eaten.

How to choose:

Curry leaves are available fresh, frozen, and dried; the fresh are more flavorful. The fresh leaves are usually sold on the stem; strip the leaves off to use them.

How to store:

Fresh curry leaves in a zip-top bag will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen for up to three months, though they’ll lose some potency.

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    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Garlic and Chile Seared Shrimp

    Put out a plate of sizzling shrimp, and just watch the crowd gather. Curry leaves—no relation to the powder—add a subtle lemon-meets-onion flavor. If you must, you can omit them…

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    Keralan Fried Chicken with Lowcountry Cardamom Waffles

    Atlanta chef Asha Gomez's fragrant, crunchy fried chicken brilliantly connects the dots between her culinary past (growing up in the Kerala region of India) and present. It's marinated overnight in…

  • Recipe

    Coconut Curry Caramel Corn

    This is the recipe to think about if you are going to a party—it would make a great gift instead of a bottle of wine. I recently prepared this as…

  • Recipe

    Indian-Spiced Turkey Cheddar Burgers

    These turkey burgers are unlike any you’ve ever had—absolutely exploding with flavor and masala, thanks to the addition of curry leaves, cumin, cilantro and chiles, plus a sweet-and-spicy tomato chutney…

  • Recipe

    Green Bean Stir-Fry with Shredded Coconut

    Instead of green beans, you could make this with another vegetable cut into bite-size pieces—try zucchini or cabbage, two of my favorites.

  • Recipe

    Potato Stir-Fry with Mint & Cilantro

    This would go well with a roasted chicken or even scrambled eggs.

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