Mar 1 2012

curry leaves

SPICE

My favorite spice is actually a herb! I adore curry leaves. They have nothing to do with curry powder or curry! They are gorgeous green and shiny but the poor things have had to deal with such an identity crisis as people often mistake them as a substitute for curry powder when, in fact, they have no relation to each other (curry powder is ground spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, coriander etc. and depending on the powder, may or may not have curry leaves). Curry leaves, popularly known in India as Kari Patta, are aromatic and flavorful leaves that can change the taste of a dish quite dramatically by adding a pungent lemony flavor to dishes. I have found no herb that adequately duplicates their flavor. These are easily available in Asian grocery stores in and around the DC metro area. And, of course, on Amazon. If you want to grow them yourself, try nurseries like Acorn Creek: ask for curry leaves (Murraya koenigii), not a curry plant (Helichrysum italicum).

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