mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Curry (leaf) Powder

In Chutneys, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on December 5, 2009 at 12:27 am

curryleaf podi

We are well into winter now here in Delhi. Autumn is past; the tiny leaves of Gulmohur have finally done their main shedding. It’s not bare, it never is, but we don’t sweep up a pile of leaves by the gate anymore. This is also the time when a lot of us feel the need to prune some of the evergreens so that there may be just a little more sun on the ground. My curry leaf tree does tend to shade my lime and keeps it from bearing a winter crop. It was also growing a bit too tall with hardly any low handy branches for a quick tempering. So, I had my gardener lop off a few branches last month.

It would have been a shame to have that huge pile of curry leaves go waste. Curry leaf podi has been on my list for a long time. I gathered a bunch of fresh leaves this time, like all the times before, to make into some spicy podi.ย  I was finally going to have curry powder in my kitchen! Actually, that is not true. I did get myself some of that authentic curry powder on my last visit to the US. My brother-in-law was very kind to give me a big bottle of it which I have used to spice many mixed vegetable stir fries; perfect when I want that exotic twist๐Ÿ™‚ to my everyday Indian.

I searched the net for a karivepillai podi only to find that there are as many recipes for curry leaf podi as there are kitchens!ย  Yes, of course, it is like a chutney and everyone has their own twist to the basic combination of roasted curry leaves and dal, with chillies providing the heat.

curryleaf podi

Curry Leaf powder #1

3 C leaves
2 T chana dal
2 T urad dal
1/2 t methi seeds
1T sesame seeds
1T coriander seeds
tamarind, 1/2 of a lime sized ball
red chillies to taste (I used 2 Kashmiri chillies, and 8 small red-hot homegrown chillies)

1 1/2 t cumin seeds
6 small cloves of garlic

2t oil

salt to taste

In a karahi or heavy bottom pan fry the curry leaves on medium heat using 1 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Remove to a plate to cool. Heat half teaspoon of oil in the same karahi and fry the next set of ingredients till the urad dal is pink and you can smell the roasting aromas. Cool.

Combine all the ingredients, including cumin seeds, garlic, and salt, and grind to a as fine a powder as your grinder will permit. Serve mixed with rice, a spot (or more) of ghee or gingelly oil, and maybe a few vadams on the side to get in touch with your South Indian side.

curryleaf podi

Curry Leaf Podi #2
(based on Revathi’s recipe)

1C leaves
2 dry chillies
2T peppercorns
2T urad dal
2T chana dal
salt
1 t oil (optional, but recommended)

Dry roast* all the leaves and set aside. Dry roast the remaining ingredients. Combine with salt and grind together to a medium-fine powder.

Both the podis are excellent but the first one, with its longer list of ingredients including tamarind and sesame, makes a curry leaf rice which has multiple layers of flavour and is a great meal in a hurry. At the same time, I admit the second one is quite different in how it presents black pepper as the dominant flavour; truly unique.

* It is really hard to dry roast fresh leaves, especially if you are using a large quantity, as I was. I roasted the curry leaves for both the recipes in one go and found it hard going since the leaves tend to stick together and there was just too much of them.ย  You would do better to use Indira’s tip on sun-drying the leaves for a day before roasting. I made the podis before she posted her recipe.

  1. Is your curry leaf plant this one?

    I have 4 of these that I started from seed this past spring. They’re only 30 cm tall, so it would be a while before I’d have 3 c. of leaves. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Perseverance pays…

  2. “Actually, that is not true. I did get myself some of that authentic curry powder on my last visit to the US. My brother-in-law was very kind to give me a big bottle of it which I have used it to spice many mixed vegetable stir fries; perfect when I want that exotic twist๐Ÿ™‚ to my everyday Indian.”

    Hahahaha! Reminds me of my dad teasing some of aunts who got special silk sarees from their trips abroad.

    AS for the chutney/podi, here, we get barely enough to add a few precious leaves to our tadkas. A pile of leaves going to wastes sounds like utter luxury. Jealous!

    Oh, but this is different – we don’t get anything called ‘curry powder’ here in India!๐Ÿ˜€
    I did realise that the thought of half-a tree worth of curry leaves might make quite a few of you mighty jealous!

    • Actually, that is not true. I did get myself some of that authentic curry powder on my last visit to the US. My brother-in-law was very kind to give me a big bottle of it which I have used it to spice many mixed vegetable stir fries; perfect when I want that exotic twist๐Ÿ™‚ to my everyday Indian.

      What happened to my quotes? Anyway, I was referring to this above.

      Fixed it! WordPress has occasional hiccups!

  3. No sun? Lay them out on a cookie sheet and into the oven, they go!

    Hi ET!

    Yes, a barely warm oven will do the trick!

  4. Anita, you took curry leaves podi from the US to India?

    No, not curry leaf podi – I brought curry powder from there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. looks delicious,..

    Thanks! It really is very good!

  6. I once made using a recipe from “Samaithu paarkalaam”. This is my favorite podi and having the regular dose of curry leaves is made easy and delicious this way. Just spread a table spoon full of this powder on your roti before cooking and pressing with the chapathi roller and fry it with little ghee. Those chapathis taste delicious! They also taste great on a dosa when spread over the batter while making them in the tawa. I like your second version very much!

    Curry leaf khakra sort-of!
    I will be sure to try it with dosa next time around!

  7. I love this with curd rice. Try it.๐Ÿ™‚

    I tried it too; ummm.

  8. I absolutely LOVE your new blog look!

    I’ve bookmarked this recipe. Been meaning to make the curry leaf podi since I save it n Indira’s blog a few weeks ago.

    Thank you, Cynthia.
    It is quite the podi to perk up any meal especially when you are craving South Indian.

  9. Three cups! Egads…I’d clear out the local shop following that! It’s still not fair that you have that tree, I say…

    Both recipes look good, but I am intrigued by the black pepper taste of the second. You also must try AR-Shilpa’s chatni (wet or dry)- it’s to die for with rice!

    There was more…perhaps another 60 cups that just lay there and wilted into the compost. Sorry, couldn’t help rubbing it in.๐Ÿ˜€
    Looked up Shilpa’s recipe – and I have some really red Kashmiri chillies for it!

  10. I love karavepillai podi – a glug of til oil and mixed with rice and its just yummy! Must try the second one – the pepper should make it amazing!

  11. Podi sounds aromatic and flavorful!

  12. Ooh .. this must smell so arooomatic … lovely!

  13. time for me to make some podi….never made before…but I guess it’s gonna be gift of blogging to my kitchen…most of the blogs I go have sopme sort of podi recipes…i’ll try yours….

  14. looks really delicious!!!

  15. Oh Anita — love that humor — curry powder from the US. How authentic indeed!๐Ÿ˜‰

    I made curry leaves podi once — oh so long ago I don’t even remember where I got the recipe. I am spoiled living in a metro area where we have many Indian groceries for fresh produce — if I get to move this year, I will be looking more closely at curry leaves in powder form.

    Wishing you and yours a joyous 2010 — and many thanks for your constant support and inspiration!๐Ÿ™‚

    It really is the only available curry powder – we have nothing by that name here in India!๐Ÿ˜€
    Like so many other spice blends, curryleaf podi is more thatn the sum of its parts – so make it while you have access to fresh curry leaves!

  16. Just your passing mention of Gulmohar has me sighing in longing to see my favourite tree in the world again. I love your blog. Am drooling over everything. I cannot believe I haven’t found it before and that I wasn’t one of those million hits you had. It is spectacular!

    A very warm welcome to you, Sharmila. Happy to have you join the Mad Party!

  17. There are indeed a lot of recipes for this. I also have one!๐Ÿ˜€
    Haven’t been here in a while and love the new look.

    A belated wish for a Happy New Year.

  18. Hi Anita, I came across your blog recently and I love it. The write ups are great and the pictures are gorgeous! Cant wait to try some of your recipes!

  19. I’ve had this long ago but wasn’t a fan. You make it sound really exotic!!:)

  20. A belated wish for a very happy new year to u and ur family.

  21. So nice to find your site! Look forward to checking out your archives!

  22. Very nice…Nice template too:)

  23. Am really missing the mad tea party.Hope all is ok.This is from a somewhat silent admirer of your blog and recipes.

    Hi, Poornima! All’s well!
    And I am back! Thanks for reading!

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