Curry leaves everywhere!
May 14, 2011 5:25 PM   Subscribe

What can I do with a bag of fresh curry leaves?

I needed about 5 fresh curry leaves for a recipe, but my local Indian grocery only sells them in big bags... it wasn't expensive, but I don't want to waste them all if I don't have to, and Wikipedia says they don't keep well in the fridge. I've never cooked with them before! What can I do with them?
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dry them out, and crush them into a powder with a mortar and pestle to make curry powder. Store them in an air-tight container to keep them dry and they'll last longer, so if you have any recipes that call for curry powder you can use that.
posted by biochemist at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2011

My South-Asian housemate freezes her curry leaves whole and pulls them out as needed.
posted by typewriter at 5:44 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Biochemist, curry powder isn't made from curry leaves, it's a blend of spices (usually things like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, but tons of variety).

Some curry powders might contain dried curry leaf, I suppose, but usually curry leaf is used fresh (yes, in curries, but not in place of curry powder).
posted by mendel at 5:57 PM on May 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

I had good success with freezing the bag in a ziploc. Not quite as good as fresh but still decent.
posted by R343L at 6:10 PM on May 14, 2011

Rinse, pat dry, separate leaves from stems, freeze in ziploc.
posted by prenominal at 7:42 PM on May 14, 2011

At my local Indian stores they come frozen, and they work fine.
posted by Hither at 7:52 PM on May 14, 2011

I keep mine in the freezer, double-bagged in ziplocks. Once they've been frozen you'll need about 4 for every 3 of the fresh ones.

They're also amazing in bread. (Although, when I looked at this recipe, I thought there was too much flour in it for the other ingredients. I just put the curry leaves and other spices in a bread recipe I already had made before.)
posted by zinfandel at 8:43 PM on May 14, 2011

Nthing freezing. They freeze great!
posted by smoke at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2011

Definitely freeze. They work well in South Indian curries, dhals, sambars and so on. Also they're used pretty widely in Malaysian curries of Indian origin. They go very well with flavours like chilli, coconut, lime, etc.
posted by rhymer at 11:26 PM on May 14, 2011

Never cooked with them before? You can use them like other leaves: put in the food while cooking, use for flavor. I recently had pongal made with a recipe like this one, but my friend cooks it with curry leaves in addition to the spices named here.
posted by whatzit at 11:50 PM on May 14, 2011

Sometimes I've found that freezing makes them go black. My solution is to let them dry (hang them up somewhere with good ventilation for about 5 days) and freeze them after that.
posted by Morpeth at 8:01 AM on May 15, 2011

Cabbage poriyal while they're fresh. Excellent.

When they've dried out (which happens over time in my fridge) I crumble them into uncooked dal in the pressure cooker, then cook dal as normal. Some good pressure cooker dal recipes here.
posted by galaksit at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

They go very well with flavours like chilli, coconut, lime, etc.

And mustard seeds.
posted by monkey closet at 4:41 AM on May 16, 2011

Based on what I've read, drying curry leaves is reportedly not effective (like basil and cilantro, so much flavor is lost during drying that there's no point) but they freeze pretty well. Don't thaw before use — just pull out of the freezer and toss into the dish (stand back if you're putting them into hot oil, because they spit & splatter worse than black mustard seed does).

If you want recipes to help use 'em up, I'd be glad to post my favorite dal recipe, which is just not the same without curry leaves in the tarka. (Now I'm hungry. Glad I was already planning to have dal for dinner.)
posted by Lexica at 3:36 PM on May 16, 2011

« Older Can I replace an entire car door on the cheap?   |   Build an Access database to display survey results Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.