Does anyone in the Bay know where I can find curry leaves? Preferably, East Bay? I bought this Indian cookbook: Savoring the Spice Coast of India and many of the recipes call for this curry leaf which is no relation to curry spice. I tried looking in the Indian store next door to Vik's (which is an incredible, but cheap Indian restaurant), but no luck. I don't know if the leaf is called something else. Any hints or tips?
Curry leaves are called "cuury leaves" in any Indian store. If you buy them fresh, you can dry them so you can use them later. In my opinion--the best Indian food grocery store is India Food Mill on San Bruno Ave between the 101 and 280. You might try some of the stores on University Ave in Berkeley--but I haven't had much luck there.
I just happen to have the latest issue of Saveur in my car, which has several recipes that use curry leaves. Hang on a minute.
Okay, I'm back. The editors advise: "Always use fresh leaves, as the dried have no taste, and set the leaves aside as you eat--they're a bit leathery." Although this implies that it is best to shop locally, they list Kalustyan's in New York City as a mail order source, supplying a 1 oz. bag of fresh curry leaves for $2.49.
Just got this reply from the great Julie Sahni (who, to my embarrassment, turns out to have listed these ingredient sources--among many others--in her cookbooks, which I'd thought I'd entirely memorized). Nice local sources for yuh:
Bazaar of India at 1810 University Ave, Berkeley (510)548 4110,
India Gifts and Foods at 643 Post street, SF (415)771-5041.
Check out Julie's great Indian Vegetarian cookbook at link below. It's required reading if you like Indian food, very well-written, all on-the-money, and there's a wonderful introduction covering all manner of Indian produce and spices.
You can also get them at the Bombay Bazar in the Mission (call first to see if they have them in stock). This is the same place as the Bombay Ice Creamery (connected). Good place to get Indian spices, frozen Indian breads, Indian cooking equipment, etc.
548-552 Valencia Street
SF, CA 94110
Tues-Sun: 10-7, closed Monday