Curry leaf (or karivepaku or kadipatta or karivepalai) is a essential and unique ingredient of Indian cuisine. I pick it up during my visit to the Indian store rather thoughtlessly every single time and toss it into the tadka with the same attitude. And just as casually as I pick it up at the store, I set it aside on my plate while eating too !! How many of you eat it, honestly ?
Despite this alienation on the plate, when there was a ban and subsequent shortage of curry leaf at the stores a few months back, I began to miss it! Whenever I found a ziploc bag of these aromatic leaves in the freezer section of the Indian store, I grabbed and stored it into my freezer. I have been doing it for a few months now and realized I had about 5 packs of it at home :)) Yes! I am that greedy gal who picked up the last pack leaving you none...
Well, all that wasn't enough either and when my mother was filling huge suitcases with goodies for us I told her about the ban here. She industriously got a huge crop of fresh leaves from our neighbor's garden, washed, dried and powdered them to use here. This was a convenient method both for transporting it and prolonging its life. But the best result was it saved us the trouble of discarding it on the plate. So if you are leaf-pickers just like me or cook for people who are, try this out..
Wash and spread the curry leaves on a kitchen towel and set it to dry for a day or two. You can do this right in your kitchen. After the moisture in them is nearly out, dry roast/fry them in a pan just to get rid of any moisture and crisp them. Powder them coarsely and store in a airtight jar or ziploc bag. Use a pinch or two in your tadka and see it melt into your curry away from your prying eyes...But hey, do save a few of the freshest leaves or what would you top that yummy dal or that warm rasam you just made for the blo.... err family :)
This is not the curry leaf powder that is mixed with rice and had, for that you would want to dry roast (or use 1tsp oil) some urad dal, channa dal, dry red chillies, hing/ingua, a tiny piece of tamarind and grind to a coarse powder along with the powdered leaves. Add salt to taste and enjoy it with warm rice mixed with a dollop of ghee and some curd on the side...you'll love it!
Curry leaves are known to be a medicinal herb, according to Wiki they are "antidiabetic , antioxidant , antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc." Here is another article that details their advantages. An excerpt from it
Apart from cooking, the curry leaf has a number of medicinal uses also. It is an essential ingredient of almost all traditional medicine systems of peninsular India, sometimes with amazingly good results. Unani, Ayurveda and other systems use it to cure ailments such as piles, to allay heat of the body and are useful in leucoderma and blood disorders, and this has been proven by experts of western medicine also. In India, the curry leaf is used to prevent conditions such as nausea and stomach upsets. It is also used in treating skin irritations and poisonous bites. Its oils are invaluable as repellants and to cure skin disorders common to the tropics.Did you know of this use for curry leaves ?
It can also be ground into a paste with some turmeric and applied on acne infected skin for a few days. The result is a glowing, clear skinNeed to try it out...now out with your little kitchen tips. What short cuts do you seek in your kitchen? .. any easy beauty tips ??