Leaves of the curry tree have got nothing in common with the curry powder which is a blend of spices. It is also known as karipatta in common parlance or otherwise as sweet neem leaf. Even though resemble neem leaf; the curry tree is just about 3-4meter high with slightly pointed leaves.
Curry leaf is extensively used in Southern and western Indian cuisine though conspicuously absent in Goa. The leaves releases its fragrance after being fried for a while which makes it aromatic. If it is added to the curries, it requires a couple of minute of cooking to release its flavor to the curry. They should be used fresh as far as possible as they do not keep well for a long time. Alternatively they can be fried and kept in airtight container for a few days but make sure to use them soon or else they will turn rancid because of the presence of oil. Some people also use it dry but the dried version has got very little flavor as most of the fragrant volatile compound have already vanished by then.
As it comes from the same family as neem, they almost exhibit the same medicinal properties like anti- bacterial properties. The dried leaves are also used as organic pesticide for plants.
Most of the recipe calling for curry leaves use it as one of the flavouring ingredient but not just on its own. Here we share peanut chutney flavoured with curry leaves which can be eaten during any meal.
1 cup peanut with skin
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
2 green chilies (optional)
1 tsp rock salt
10 curry leaves
1 tsp peanut/ groundnut oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
½ cup grated fresh coconut
Roast the peanut on a griddle until lightly blistered, approximately 5-8minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, loosen skin from peanut. Heat oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves briefly until fragrant, add urad lentil and fry for another minute until the lentil is lightly colored. Remove from heat and cool. Put all the ingredients in a blender and grind to a paste. If you require to add water, add a little to facilitate the blending.
Tags: kulfi, curries, bhatura, tandoor, palak, chettinad, murgh, vindaloo, indian food, tikka masala