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Curry leaf curry (Karuvepilai kuzhambu)

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

The curry leaf is omnipresent in most Indian dishes. However, it is used a few leaves at a time adding a mild flavor. This curry is all about the deep flavors, herby, slightly bitter and wonderful aroma of the curry leaf in all its glory. And yes, I do seek out the unusual recipes and love to make them. The first use of curry leaves in Indian cuisine dates back to the 1st century AD in South Indian literature. Today it is used all over India, Sri Lanka and the South Asian continent including Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. This curry turns out like a thin “rasam" or watery soup that pops with flavor. The herby notes of the curry leaf are accentuated by the tartness from tamarind and the spice from chilies. The whole shallots added a touch of sweet and texture to the curry. We enjoyed it with plain basmati rice. Here is another wonderful recipe from this amazing cookbook. I am glad this book is on my shelf and I plan on cooking from it often. I highly recommend this book for those who want this specialized cuisine on their tables.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.


3 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoons cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/3 tablespoon anise seed

5-7 dried red chilies, kept whole, or to taste

2 teaspoons split chana dal (Bengal gram), lightly toasted on a pan

1/4 cup grated coconut

2 cups curry leaves + some to garnish

8-10 garlic cloves, kept whole

8-10 shallots, peeled and kept whole

1 tomato, diced

1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate

2 cups water

Salt to taste

Heat a frying pan on medium to low heat. Individually toast the ingredients from the cumin seeds to the curry leaves. Mix together the dry ingredients and grind into a fine powder in a coffee mill. Add the coconut and curry leaves and purée in a small blender to a fine paste using as little water as possible .

Add the oil to a pot and add the paste. Sauté on medium heat till cooked through and the oil is beginning to glisten on the surface of the paste, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tamarind and water and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and make sure the tamarind has lost its raw taste and the salt and sour are well balanced.

Serve hot topped with a few curry leaves as garnish. it pairs well with rice.

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