Though many will find it surprising, curry leaves are actually quite different from the popular curry powder, which is a ground spice mix also used in many Indian dishes. Curry leaves, on the other hand, are exactly that: leaves from the curry leaf plant (not curry plant). Regardless, these leaves have remained a staple in South Indian cooking, and are used in a range of Indian cuisine. They have a pungent aroma and bitter flavor with hints of citrus and an herb-like quality, almost like basil.
Seeing as how Tamba Lounge combines modern and traditional Indian cuisines to create authentic yet innovative dishes, we thought we’d take some time to take a closer look at curry leaves, how they’ve been used, and a few recipes to try them out.
Curry Leaves: Health Benefits
Aside from being used in cooking, curry Leaves are said to have many medicinal qualities and have long been used for such. Containing antioxidants, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, these leaves offer a range of health benefits. Take a look at a few below:
- Control Diabetes: Considered one of the main health benefits of curry leaves, the anti-hyperglycemic properties have shown to control blood glucose levels in studies.
- Heal Minor Skin Issues: Given their anti-inflammatory properties, curry leaves have also been used to for skin scare, from soothing burns and cuts to alleviating irritations.
- Promote Hair Growth: Many also believe curry leaves can be used to promote hair growth. Those who’ve noticed benefits simply create a dry powder and mix it with oil, which they then massage onto their scalp.
Cooking with Curry Leaves
Indian cuisine is full of subtleties in flavor and curry leaves are one way to achieve such. They are not as dominating as other herbs and work similarly to bay leaves. When a recipe calls for two or so curry leaves, this does not mean just two leaves. This usually means two stalks.
Usually, they are crushed in a pan and cooked with cumin and mustard seeds. Curry leaves can be great in stews, chili, and a wide variety of sauces, not limited to just Indian cooking! Interestingly, there is no ideal or recommended time to add them into the dish. So whenever you’d like to toss them in, feel free to experiment. However, make sure you cook them first so you don’t have any raw leaves floating about.
Where to Buy
Curry leaves can be found in just about any Indian market and are sold fresh on stems. Avoid any stems that look dry because it will not add as much flavor to the dishes you want to prepare. If you have extras, make sure to wrap them tightly and store them in the freezer (they don’t need to defrost before cooking).
Enjoy Fine Indian Cuisine at Tamba Lounge
If you’d like to get a taste of traditional and innovative Indian cuisine, be sure to visit Tamba Lounge on the Las Vegas Strip. We have an extensive menu of authentic dishes and some with a new twist. To make a reservation, give us a call at 702-798-7889.