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Just bought curry leaves on a whim - smelled them and tasted them [ick] - what am I missing?

alwayscooking Jan 25, 2009 05:57 PM

Do they taste better or smell better when cooked? I googled and the results say that it smells like tangerines - SO NOT TO MY NOSE. Anything I'm missing?

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  1. alkapal RE: alwayscooking Jan 25, 2009 06:47 PM

    gotta cook with them. they lend a mysterious aroma and flavor.

    see this recipe for cabbage sabzi: http://onehotstove.blogspot.com/2005/...

    this will be a subtle rice dish: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...

    i'll bet these potatoes would be good: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/kgk...

    here are several good looking recipes, esp. the fish coconut curry: http://www.thokalath.com/cuisine/kera...

    they don't smell like tangerines, as recipezaar says. they smell distinctly "herbally" -- not citrusy or "bright" and "sweet" like tangerine.

    keep them in the freezer wrapped after dry (as in no water) in a freezer zip-lock.

    they may not float your boat, but they give a distinctive & savory flavor to cooked dishes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alkapal
      alwayscooking RE: alkapal Jan 25, 2009 06:57 PM

      A perfect reply and very complete - thank you. I've added other 'errr' ingredients in the past to my basics so I will follow your recommendations and see where I go. Again, thank you. I am also interested in other experiences with this unique herb.

      1. re: alwayscooking
        alkapal RE: alwayscooking Jan 25, 2009 07:07 PM

        you are welcome. try that cabbage first (if you like cabbage. ) it is really tasty! next, i'd be tryin' that fish with coconut curry but not with a stinkin' tilapia. get good fish: grouper, red snapper..... this "pomfret" fish is the one mentioned specifically in the recipe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomfret

        good luck!!!

        come on hounds: chime in!

    2. wearybashful RE: alwayscooking Jan 25, 2009 11:14 PM

      I agree. I buy a lot of things at local Asian markets, but i don't "get" curry leaves either. If a recipe calls for them and they're easily available, I add them, but I can't say I care about their flavor one way or the other.

      1. f
        foodwich RE: alwayscooking Jan 26, 2009 04:23 AM

        I keep them in the freezer in a zip loc. Handy when tempering with mustard seeds in potato and cabbage salads. Also the flavor is excellent with potatoes. main purpose is to temper with them for aroma. Usually mustard and cumin seeds are added alongside.

        1 Reply
        1. re: foodwich
          MMRuth RE: foodwich Jan 26, 2009 04:31 AM

          Have you used the dried ones? I have both fresh, which I plan to freeze, as well as a bag of the dried. Any difference in results?

        2. MMRuth RE: alwayscooking Jan 26, 2009 04:28 AM

          I adore curry leaves - in fact, asked my husband to wait in front of an Indian market in the car yesterday for 15 minutes until they opened so that he could buy me some. Last night I made tomato chutney:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4896... (photo attached shows the chutney - it's the red stuff


          I also really like this pulao - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4237...

          4 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth
            restless RE: MMRuth Jan 26, 2009 04:47 AM

            It is not clear to me from the previous posts, so please forgive me if you already know this, but I don't think you are supposed to eat the curry leaves. From what I understand, they are used like bay leaves are used in Western cuisine: to flavor food during cooking. When I was first served South Indian food at the home of a South Indian family, they warned me to eat around the leaves in the dish.

            1. re: restless
              MMRuth RE: restless Jan 26, 2009 05:15 AM

              Interesting - that's a good point - I don't think I end up eating them.

              1. re: MMRuth
                jen kalb RE: MMRuth Jan 26, 2009 05:31 AM

                they can certainly be eaten - we do. They are delicious sizzled in oil.
                In the citrus family, but they dont taste or smell like tangerine .
                dont judge them until youve cooked a dish with them.

              2. re: restless
                CPla RE: restless Jan 29, 2009 10:31 AM

                They certainly can be eaten and are reputedly good for the health. I grow my own plant here and have blogged about the challenges I went through getting a plant in Bangkok - it is not something typically used in Thai food, and most people here do not even know about it.


            2. alkapal RE: alwayscooking Jan 29, 2009 07:29 PM

              just came across this good-looking recipe for carrot-cabbage salad, with curry leaves component: http://cuisineindia.wordpress.com/200...

              1. t
                themags RE: alwayscooking Jan 30, 2009 05:21 AM

                We went for Keralan (Southern Indian) food at our favourite, Rasa in Stoke Newington, London last week - many Keralan dishes use curry leaves, either fried as a garnish or when flavouring the oil. Our visiting Belgian friends were blown away by tastes they had never experienced before: tamarind rice, beet curry, garlic pickle etc. The restaurant's owner's cookbook is very good and the photography is gorgeous: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/18...

                This blog looks good too - just came across it - has a great looking fresh curry leaf chutney (plus lots of beautiful Keralan recipes): http://www.cookingandme.com/2008/12/c...

                1 Reply
                1. re: themags
                  alkapal RE: themags Jan 30, 2009 05:26 AM

                  here is more from kerala: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5883...

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