Karuvepillai or Curry leaves is the most important ingredient/herb used in South Indian cooking .I just can’t imagine any South Indian dish be it non -vegetarian or vegetarian without curry leaves . It is also considered medicinal with umpteen health benefits . It is also a plant that grows easily in your kitchen garden . Just a few leaves can elevate a very simple dish and make it excellent.
Karuvepillai can be used in chutneys with coconut or in thokku. This thokku can be stored in the fridge for couple of months . It makes a yummy side to almost all South Indian breakfast dishes , as well as for rice . You can mix it in rice to make karuvepillai saadham /Curry leaf rice . I even use it as a spread on my bread or in my salads added to the dressing .
Curry leaf -2cups washed
Dry red chillies -10-15(or as desired)
Garlic -2-3 pods with skin
Ginger -a few pcs
Tamarind – a gooseberry sized ball
Gingely Oil -2tsp
Gingely oil -2-3tbsp
Channa dhal , Peanuts (optional)
Add oil in the pan , add in the jeera , red chillies and asafoetida. Then add the ginger and garlic and sauté . Add in the tamarind sauté until the red chillies are fried . Add in the washed curry leaves and mix well until it’s well coated. Cool it and then grind to a smooth paste .
Add oil in pan , once it heats up , add in the mustard and let it splutter , add in channa dhal and peanuts once they turn a golden brown, add in the karuvepillai paste and sauté for a while until oil comes up . Cool it and store in airtight glass containers and store in fridge.
Conversely you can grind the raw Karuvepillai, red chillies , ginger , garlic and tamarind to a smooth paste .Add gingely oil to pan season with mustard , jeera , asafoetida ,channa dhal and peanuts sauté well and add the the ground paste and mix well until the oil comes up .
Both methods work really well .
Use a dry spoon to scoop out the Karuvepillai thokku .
*you can add in the fried channa dhal and Peanuts later as well if you want to mix it in rice .
*using fresh tender curry leaves gives the best flavour and aroma