Curry Leaves

Three Saturdays ago, there was a new vendor at the Farmer’s Market.  She was selling various dry goods, including a fair variety of South Asian spices, so I stopped to ask whether she had any curry leaves, a spice that I am not able to find elsewhere within walking distance.  She told me that she did not, but assured me that she would have some the following week.

I somehow missed the vendor’s stall the next week, but I found it again this past Saturday, and I remembered our conversation, so I stopped.  The vendor clearly remembered me.  Before I could even ask after the spice I wanted, she had pointed to a bag that contained, not dried curry leaves, which would have been more than satisfactory, but a whole branch, practically a small tree, of fresh curry leaves.  The price she asked was almost embarrassingly cheap, so I pretended not to have change and overpaid her an amount that I was still more than happy to pay.

I dried much of the plant, but while I still have some fresh leaves, I have been using it continually, and it has been a lovely luxury to have enough of it allow some culinary experimentation.  I have found an interesting recipe for a tomato suace that includes curry leaves, for example, and I will also be trying a potato dish that combines the fresh leaves with yoghurt and other spices.  Of course, depending on how all of this cooking turns out, I may now have to keep a curry tree or two growing on my window sill, just to feed my habit.

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2 comments
  1. Matthew Harrison said:

    Make sure to have us over to taste some of these dishes!
    I like the sounds of the tomato based dish.

  2. Matthew,

    Here is the recipe.

    Begin as if you are making a regular tomato sauce, by sauteing onions and garlic, but leave out the traditional Italian seasonings. Instead, add curry leaves, coriander seed, cumin seed, peppercorns, and salt. Add your diced tomatoes and simmer until they melt, then simmer some more until the sauce is reduced to the consistency that you want. The result is a spicy and flavourful sauce that can be put over pasta, chicken, or whatever.

    Of course, you could also just come over for dinner some time.

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