Karhi patta plant is a evergreen small plant grow upto 8-10 high . Used widely in Indian cuisines, either fresh or dried, the leaves are often heated in oil to release their flavor prior to adding to a dish.
The aromatic leaves are green, small and narrow.
They can be found fresh or dried.
Selecting and Buying
Do not buy brittle ones.
Check for mold or algae.
If you have some very fresh curry leaves, you can try to root some as stem cuttings. Take some of the twigs which are not very floppy and green nor very hard and woody (this stage is called semi-ripe), and remove most of their lower leaves. Cut the stem cleanly at a node, and push the cutting a few centimetres into a 50/50 mix of potting compost and aquarium gravel, with about 3 leaves above the surface.
Put the cuttings in a propagator or covered pot, in a warm light place out of direct sunlight. Rooting will take about 3 weeks.
Alternatively, if you find some fresh curry leaves with ripe seeds on you can grow these: they require about 20°C to germinate and may take a long time to germinate.
Established plants need a sunny, well-drained place. They may easily outgrow any space you have for it!
As the plants grow, keep trimming them regularly to maintain a supply of young leaves for cooking. Water regularly and feed during the growing season.
In winter, keep the pot in a warm, frost-free place (minimum temperature 12°C.) In early April, soak the pot, repot if needed, and move the plants to a warm light place (around 18-20°C).
Preparation and Use
The curry leaf is used whole in curries and fish dishes. It may be added to a stock like the bay leaf is used. It is one of the most important ingredients in the dish karhi.
Curry leaf has a relatively short shelf life. It can be frozen or crushed but loses a great deal of the flavoring.
Conserving and Storing
Curry leaf, is one magical herb with distinctive flavour which brings out the great aroma of most Soutn India curries. They are available in abundance in India but a treasured groumet produce for people living in other countries. Preserving and storing them is a big question among many most of us. After trying a few attempts in my kitchen, came to a conclusion that freezing would be best solution to preserve this green gold.
Curry leaves can be preserved in the following ways.
1. Fresh curry leaves with stalks, stored in ziplock bags can be refridgerated for few days. Max: 5 days, later they turn dark black and stinks.
2. Fresh curry leaves with stalks removed, wiped clean can be stored in air-tight freezer friendly box for upto 2 months or little longer. There's one little disadvantage.. do not put them out for long time as discolouration starts within few minutes of keeping them in room temperature. Better to use straight from freezer to pan, makes them taste the same as fresh curry leaves. You can actually see the difference from above picture, within few minutes they started to turn black. This method is very helpful and is cost effective, time effective (saves frequent trips to Indian stores) and taste effective (Quite not the exact match for fresh leaves but atleast shares that mild flavouring)
3. Fresh curry leaves with stalks revomoved, wiped clean, lightly dry toasted and dried for few days will result in dry curry leaves. Very mild in flavour and stays good for 6 months if stored in air-tight box. Another way to store is to make a powder of those toasted leaves.