Curry Leaves: Mystery Ingredient Lends a "Muscular" Taste to Indian Cooking; a Whiff of Scorched Brakes
Fresh curry leaves, plucked in a Hindu family's garden in Kerala, lend a pleasingly
bitter edge to fish, coconut and vegetable curries. They have nothing to do with
Fresh curry leaves are one of the more mysterious ingredients in Indian cooking.
These green, almond-shaped leaves have nothing to do with curry powder, of course. Nor are they related to the lacy, pale grey curry plant that appears at herb stands in early summer.
But curry and curry leaves do have one thing in common: the word “curry” which derives from the Tamil kari, meaning soup or sauce. And it all makes sense when you discover that the fresh leaves are widely used to season the fish, coconut and vegetable curries of South India.