Don’t you always remember this green leaf as something you always took out of your mouth in irritation as a child or something that your mom overloads the sambar & curries with? Well, I most certainly do! It is only when I started delving into the nutritional aspects of this new age super food, that I was amazed & decided to post about it.
India definitely seems to be a land of super foods as we call them in modern terms, be it turmeric, ghee, ginger or curry leaves. But the benefits of chewing upon these nutrition-powerhouses are manifold, as I recently discovered!
Here’s a strikingly aromatic chutney powder that imparts loads of flavour to liven up any mundane rice-dal-roti meal in your day. Comprising essentially of dry roasted fresh curry leaves along with a few kitchen staples such as dals/lentils and flavourings such as salt, sugar, red chillies & tamarind/garlic to your taste. You can even add roasted flax seeds for additional nutrition.
Just mix in a spoonful into your buttermilk daily for better digestion, spread it on top of your roti or bread or mix with a bit of hot ghee/oil & enjoy with rice, idlis & dosas. I even add it to my south indian curries & meat dishes.
These pungently-flavoured leaves used most commonly in tempering in Indian curries, lentils & meat gravies, can easily grow in your home garden. They are:
- Rich in carbohydrates & dietary fibre
- Packed with vitamins- you name it, A, B, C & E, as well as essential oils known as pinene, sabinene & terpinene, thereby assisting eyesight, good skin & hair health
- Excellent in regulating cholesterol levels in the body
- They have excellent digestive properties & help in treating diarrhea, dysentery as well as constipation as they stimulate digestive enzymes.
- Similarly good for nausea, flatulence & morning sickness, thanks to stimulation of digestive secretions.
- Excellent anti-inflammatory properties thanks to a compound called carbazole alkaloid that aids in healing superficial cuts, boils & bruises.
- Good for regulating blood glucose levels, as they contain minerals like iron, zinc & copper which offer protection to the pancreas that produce insulin & aid in eliminating harmful free radicals from the body.
Recipe for Curry Leaves Powder
- 1 cup curry leaves / kari patta / karuveppilai / karivepaku
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 tablespoons chana dal / split Bengal gram dal
- 2 tablespoons urad dal / split black gram lentils
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds / dhania
- 4 dried red chillies or as per your taste
- 2 tablespoons dry coconut or kopra / desiccated (optional)
- 1 small piece tamarind / imli (optional)
- 1 pinch asafoetida / hing
- 2 teaspoons flax seeds (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- Wash 1 cup fresh curry leaves thoroughly & leave them to dry on a clean towel for an hour until all moisture evaporates.
- In a large kadhai or pan, dry roast the curry leaves on a low flame., until they are crisp & crumble between your fingers.
- Once cool, transfer to a blender & grind to a fine powder.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tsp oil and roast the following on a low flame until golden one at a time in this order: first chana dal for 2-3 mins, then urad dal, followed by coriander seeds in that order.
- Now add dry red chillies, then 2 cloves garlic(if using), dry coconut & a small piece of tamarind (if using). Continue to roast on low flame for 2 mins till the coconut & garlic turn golden.
- Transfer into the same blender & add a pinch of hing and ½ tsp salt.
- Blend again in short bursts to a dry, coarse powder without adding any water.
- Finally, store the curry leaves powder in an airtight container and enjoy with hot rice idlis / bread / dosa mixed in melted ghee or gingelly oil.
- Stays for a month or more if stored dry and without any wet spoon being used.
- To make this last longer, omit the dry coconut and chana dal.