Sunday, January 20, 2008

Curry Leaf

So frequently you set a goal and one the way of the achieving that target you discover the unexpected. And, so it was with my recent journey to get a greater understanding of the peppercorn. I fell in love with the curry leaf. It is a small tree indigenous to India that produces an aromatic leaf that has a reminiscent fragrance of India’s iconic spice blend. Though it is far more ethereal with a bit of a camphor head. I did not expect to find this herb in almost every dish I eat. I was more anticipating the kefir lime leaf to be the bay leaf of the southern portion of sub-continent, but that citrusy note was conspicuously missing.

I have had used the curry leaf back here at home though it is always so judiciously applied showing up in a scant amount of my recipes. Things will be different from here on in…of course I will throw them into curries but also lamb stews, rubs for chicken or in grits. That’s right based upon a semolina porridge I had for breakfast I am now making this most American gruel spiked with some curry leaves.

I prefer to buy the curry leaf fresh, and then freeze them. I use them straight from the freezer though I will admit that freezing will definitely compromise a bit of its pungency, so I may have to add few extra leaves into whatever I am making.

Savory Grits – yields 4 servings
3 cups water
1 small onion – thinly sliced
1 Thai green chili – thinly sliced
6 to 8 curry leaves
1-teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2-teaspoon salt
1 cup white grits

In a 1-1/2 quart saucepan add the water, onion, chili, curry leaves, mustard seeds and salt and bring them to a full boil. Then rain in the grits stirring as you add the grits – this is to prevent the grits from clumping up. Lower the heat to a simmer, and stir the grits mixture for 5 minutes. Then place a lid on the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes.

Correct seasoning, and serve warm.

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