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.