What are Curry Leaves and How to Use Them

Curry Leaf Plant

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Curry Leaves

Here’s a quick YouTube video taken off my Udemy class where I talk about curry leaves and how to use them.

Curry leaves, along with kaffir lime leaves and laksa leaves were one of the first plants I sourced out when I moved to the UK in the 90s. Because frankly, I can’t live without them. So may of the dishes I cook from my childhood have curry leaves as an ingredient.

My curry leaf plant that you see above is almost 30 years old now. I keep it in a pot so that it can come in when temperatures drop. And every 5 years or so, as it gets lanky, I pick all the sprigs off and chop it right donw to about a foot tall.

Within a few weeks, new stems will start growing from the bottom.

Small, dark green and shiny, these are the leaves of the Murraya Koenigii tree, also called Neem leaves in India but vastly different from actual Neem leaves.

They are usually flash fried in hot oil and used to add a final flavour to many South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. The flavour is hard to describe, nothing like curry, for starters; a little woody, spicy, maybe even with a hint of mustard.

Substitute for Curry Leaves

Absolutely none, I’m afraid. If you have access to dried curry leaves, you could use them, but you’ll have to double up on the quantity as their aroma is pretty weak. In fact, I’ve been known to tell my students and on this blog not to bother with dried curry leaves.

So what do you do if you can’t get curry leaves? Finish off your dish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). It won’t be the same, but I guess there’s nothing one can do about it!

Here, on LinsFood, they are used in:

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