The curry leaf is a new favored ingredient in the Crispy Kitchen. I recently discovered the pleasures of the India Bazaar in Albany, NY, (1321 Central Avenue) where they stock a diverting selection of dried beans, spices, barfi (brightly colored "chickpea fudge"),Indian groceries, sacks of heavenly-scented basmati rice, and fresh produce. Bags of fresh curry leaves are something that I picked up on my last several visits, and upon the advice of the grocer, have stuck them in my pots of steamed rice for a wonderful scent and flavor.
Curry leaves look similar to bay leaves (my husband says they look like they fell off a house plant) being glossy green ovals with pointed tips. They come from a small shrub, Murraya koenigii, which is grown throughout India and South Asia. The leaves do get softened during cooking, so I leave them in my dishes, but you can remove them like a bay leaf from finished dishes and their pungent flavor and scent will remain. You can find out more about cooking with and the botanical and medicinal properties of curry leaves and other plants at this informative website.
One can freeze curry leaves, but like cilantro, their flavor is much reduced, so it is best to use them fresh. I recently tried out this recipe for Parsi Potatoes with Egg and it was lovely, sort of like an exotically-spiced Potato Frittata. The recipe was a bit time-consuming, but the flavors were spectacular.
I thought I would send this post about curry leaves over to Weekend Herb Blogging, the weekly blog event that celebrates the Vegetable Kingdom. WHB is headquartered by Haalo at Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once and is being hosted this week by Serbian food blogger Palachinka. Head on over to see what other interesting leaves, herbs, fruit and other plant ingredients are being featured by great cooks from around the world at the WHB roundup after October 5th.