WHAT ARE CURRY LEAVES?
The delicious Indian stew known as “curry” is the product of 2 different colonial empires . Originally the term was coined by Portuguese traders in the 1400’s from the Tamil word “Kari” to describe southern Indian stews. These consisted of fresh curry leaves along with meat and a blend of spices. As Portuguese naval dominance faded and Britain’s rose, the term was adopted into English. British soldiers in the 1700’s used the term more loosely, describing any spicy dishes made with meat and sauce. And so the spice mix later sold to them consisted of only the dominant flavors like chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper and ginger. This is the curry that people know today; similar to gravy but much less boring! Curry leaves on the other hand are still relatively unknown in the West. But in modern Indian cuisine they’re a frequent addition to many southern dishes!
WHY ARE CURRY LEAVES GOOD FOR YOU?
Both anti-bacterial and rich in Vitamin A (eyesight), they also contain the minerals copper, iron and zinc. As a homeopathic remedy curry leaves are thought to help treat indigestion, diarrhea, morning sickness and help control blood sugar.
WHEN ARE CURRY LEAVES IN SEASON?
There is no one season, these tropical shrubs produce leaves throughout the year.
HOW SHOULD CURRY LEAVES BE STORED?
They’re actually quite easy to freeze (use a sealed zip lock bag). Fresh they should also be stored in the same manner but with a damp paper towel in your refrigerator. Some people dry them out to prolong their shelf life, but then you lose a lot of the aroma and flavor that makes this leaf so special.
NEW YORK AND NOW MUMBAI ARE NOW FAMOUS FOR THEIR MARTINIS?
Yes, shows like Sex and the City and Madmen made N.Y.C. the home of the martini. But mixologist Stefano Marchetto of Michelin-starred Benares created this Mumbai tribute recipe using curry leaves and ginger!