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  Spices Of life

The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as human civilization itself. The Vedas, the Bible and the Quran are all replete with references - direct or indirect - to Indian spices. The earliest literary record in India on spices is the Rig Veda (around 6000 BC), and the other three Vedas - Yajur, Sama and Atharva.

Every week a brief history of a spice will be featured here. Have a read and discover facts  about what gives such taste to curries.

This Week's Spice:

Curry Leaves

 

Origin: Southern India and Sri Lanka . Tamil  kari "soup or sauce" was misapplied to the spice by the British.
About Them: The leaves are the used part. Since they lose their delicate fragrance when dried, you should try to obtain them fresh; don't waste your time with the dried stuff!They smell Fresh and pleasant, remotely reminiscent of tangerines.

Curry leaves are extensively used in Southern India and Sri Lanka (and are absolutely necessary for the authentic flavour), but are also of some importance in Northern India. Together with South Indian immigrants, curry leaves reached Malaysia, South Africa and Réunion island. Outside the Indian sphere of influence, they are rarely found

How they should be used:

If you want to try curry leaves, you should fry them in hot butter fat for short and add to the dish immediately before servingSince South Indian cuisine is dominantly vegetarian, curry leaves seldom appear in non-vegetarian food; the main applications are thin lentil or vegetable curries (sambaar) and stuffings for the crispy samosa.+

In Sri Lanka, the delicious chicken and beef curries are flavoured with curry leaves; the leaves are furthermore used for kottu roti, vegetables and sliced bread which are quickly fried together.

Curry leaves may be kept in the refrigerator for some time, but are better deep frozen; do not remove them from the branches before usage!

 

Cardamom    Turmeric        Saffron

   
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                                              Last modified: October 17, 2003