When hubby visited an Indian store a few days ago,he got me a pack of curry leaves,dried one that is, and I almost fainted when I saw the price tag.100grams of dried curry leaves cost 15 RMB!!!
I recollected the curry leaf trees in mom's backyard.Any time mom wants them for a dish,she would go to the backyard and grab a handful,wash them and use it in the dish.But,here I had to pay a fortune for them...
I had to make a quick trip to India and whenI reached home I went to our backyard to have a look at those fragrant trees. There they stood,tall and lush,dancing gracefully to the tunes of the gentle breeze.There were 3 big trees and a few saplings around them.I almost jumped with joy.
Our backyard with curry leaf trees.
Before I returned back I wanted to take some with me.The previous time mom had prepared a batch of dry curry leaved to carry with me.She had sun dried them and had said it was a tedious process.
This time I didn't want to trouble her so thought I would dry them in the microwave.I had read about drying herbs in the book that came with the microwave.The method and timing were not mentioned in the book and I had to experiment.
Here is what I did,follow these instructions and you can dry them at home instead of paying a ransom....
- Pluck the curry leaves from the trees and wash them well.
- Drain well and spread them out on a clean cloth.
- Pat dry if needed.
- Once it is completely dry,take a handful and spread it on a glass plate and microwave on 80% power for approximately 1 and a half minutes.
- Remove from microwave and spread it on another plate.
- Once cool store in an airtight container.
- Repeat for the remaining curry leaves.
- Once you microwave them start checking the leaves after the end on the first minute.Increase the timing in steps of 10 seconds.At first the leaves will be a little moist and later start turning crisp.
- The timing will depend on the power level and also on the amount of curry leaves in each batch.
- The leaves must be spread in a single layer and if it is heaped ,it turns soggy.
- Once the leaves are slightly crisp,remove from the microwave and spread them on a plate.Soon they will turn crisp,else microwave for a few more seconds.
- If they crackle in the microwave,it means the leaves are not dry enough.Pat dry and microwave.
The most remarkable thing in this process is that the leaves remain as green as the fresh ones! Hard to believe?Take a look ...
The dried curry leaves from the store was very pale and not very fragrant.This home made version was green and aromatic and very crisp.This is one of interesting uses of microwave.The dried curry leaves can be used in the same way we use the fresh one.
Sending this simple method across to MEC-Fresh produce hosted by Suma of Veggie platter.Microwave easy cooking,MEC,as it is known is the brainchild of Srivalli of Cooking for all seasons.
Is curry leaf new to you?Here are some titbit's that might interest you .....
- Curry leaves are called sweet neem leaves /Black neem leaves.
- Its botanical name is Murraya koenigii.
- It is also known as karuveppilai,Karibevina soppu,Keddiappala,Kari patta,Bhursunga,Patra,Kadhi patta,Mithlo limdo,Karapincha.
- It is native to India
- The leaves are used in seasoning and are valued for the taste and aroma they impart to the dish.
- They are also used in Ayurvedic medicine and are known to have anti diabetic,antioxidant, anti microbial,anti inflamtory properties.They are also know to keep hair shiny,long and healthy.