Curry leaves are known to give the best citrus flavor in food. Since it’s quite hard to find curry leaves, you might wonder if it’s possible to a curry leaf substitute. This post will help you find the best replacement for curry leaves. Let’s find out more.
What are Curry Leaves?
Curry leaves are well known scented herbs that are commonly used for cooking in South India. These leaves are teardrop-shaped and have a vibrant green color. They are also referred to as “sweet name leaves” and grow in the curry tree.
Curry leaves have a citrus flavor because their tree comes from a citrus family. Their scent is almost similar to that of lemon and has a pungent taste.
These leaves not only make food tasty but are also known to have some medicinal values. In the Indian holistic method of healing, curry leaves are utilized in Ayurvedic medicine. There are many ways of using it. You can boil them in tea or grind them up and add them to food.
Curry leaves have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics. You can use them as sauté in ghee, to make tadka (an Indian cuisine) or flavor cooking oil with them.
But if you are still desperate to find a substitute for curry leaves, the same situation can happen with a cardamom substitute, you can always choose the appropriate substitute for your purpose.
Curry Leaves vs. Curry Powder
Most people mix curry leaves with curry powder. You need to note that there’s a significant difference between them. While they have similar names, some things differentiate them. Curry leaves came from Sri Lanka and Southern India.
Curry powder, on the other hand, originated from Britain. Curry powder is also a spice made from mixing turmeric, cumin, cayenne. Curry leaf is an ingredient on its own and not a mixture of anything.
For this reason, curry powder cannot be the best substitute for curry leaves. Their flavors and benefits are quite different.
Possible Substitution for Curry Leaves
What happens if you can’t find curry leaves in your nearby store? Sometimes these leaves can be on-demand due to their health benefits. Fortunately, you can use curry leaves alternative and achieve the same results. Below are some suggestions you might want to try.
Lime Zest or Lime Leaves
You can get two alternatives for curry leaves from the lime. The first one is lime zest while the second one is lime leaves. Lime zest is the leaf found on the upper layer on the skin of a lime. It has oils that offer a strong citrus flavor that also has the aroma of curry leaves.
Lime zest is our best recommendation of curry leaves alternative due to its pungent scent and a pleasant aroma.
We highly recommend bay leaves as our second choice of sub for curry leaves thanks to their sweet, savory flavor. Their flavor is almost the same as those you would get from curry leaves. Bay is a staple herb in the Mediterranean due to its numerous health benefits. One of its benefits in the body is the regulation of glucose levels and also reducing levels of cholesterol.
Bay leaves are also very commonly used in preparing Indian dishes and some Asian spices. There’s a slight difference between bay leaves found in Indonesia with those in the Mediterranean in terms of appearance and flavor as well.
Consider using one bay leaf in place of ½ cup of curry leaves.
Daun Salam Leaves
Daun Salam leaves can also be a fantastic curry leaves substitution. However, you should note that these leaves are only suitable for meat recipes. Even though they have a slight flavor of curry leaves, they are not ideal for vegetable preparations. These leaves have a mild flavor of cinnamon which makes them not ideal for vegetable recipes.
Here is yet another substitute that you can use in place of curry leaves. Lemon balm won’t disappoint you, thanks to its citrus flavor. The best thing about lemon balm is that it is always readily available in the market.
It has its flavor, it has excellent health benefits. For example, it helps the body fight diabetes, protects you from heart, also improves your focus and sleep. You can use nine curry leaves in place of six lemon balm leaves.
Just like curry leaves, you are supposed to use only the lemon balms leaves and not the stem or the root of lemon balm. Even though this herb has some health benefits if you want to use it for treatment, get medical help first.
Curry spice is our last recommendation of substitute for fresh curry leaves. If you can’t get any of the alternatives mentioned above, then we recommend this. However, the truth is that you might not get the exact flavor as that of curry leaves from this spice.
But, you will get something similar to it’s since the main ingredient of curry leaves is turmeric among other spices.
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Getting fresh curry leaves substitute shouldn’t be a bother anymore. There are many alternatives you can use like bay leaves, lime zest lemon, curry spice, among others. You have to take into account that you cannot find an alternative that perfectly replaces curry leaves or cardamom substitute anyway, it is right to choose a sub based on the purpose and what flavor you want to get.
What else do you use as curry leaves substitution? Share the results of your experiments in the comment section below.