My friend Wendy came to lunch recently with an armful of curry leaves from her garden, which is perfect for so many reasons. Who else grows curry? Who else gives gifts of leaves? Who else in this small town has been to India, loves to cook Indian, knows that every dish in south India is seasoned with fresh curry leaves?
Above all, it’s perfect because this very week I was planning to try out a new recipe – something that was served at a plantation house turned “home stay” in Kerala visited earlier this year.
If you don’t have a friend like Wendy who always arrives with the exact thing you wanted even before you knew it, then for this recipe you can look for curry leaves at Indian or Asian markets.
At Vaidyagrama, an Ayurvedic healing village in south India, when asked why every dish has curry leaves, the answer was always, “Good for digestion.”
Curry leaves are sort of citrus-y, lemongrass-y, sweet-ish, bitter – and different from that all at the same time. What they are is light and fresh, so with cashew, it’s a marriage made in heaven.
It’s simple to make this heavenly delight – cashews, curry leaves and spring onions. The rest is just seasoning, and you could even skip that.
Try it on its own, when you need a little pick-me-up. Or, try it with your curries, stews, soups and salads. You might even try a batch with raisins, cinnamon and less curry powder, to top your morning breakfast bowls.
If you can’t find curry leaves, play around with basil, or mint, parsley or even cilantro. Just wait and toss these more delicate leaves in at the end, when you add the salt.
1 t coconut oil (or ghee, or your favorite high heat oil)
1 cup raw cashews
4 spring onions, sliced
1 pinch mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 branches of curry leaves, washed and separated from the branch
pink or sea salt, to taste
Melt the oil over a medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they pop add everything else, except the salt. Toast until the cashews gently begin to brown, stirring often. Turn off the heat. Add salt, taste and adjust, adding more salt or curry powder until it’s perfect. Let it sit in the pan a few minutes, until cool enough to serve.
To save for a later time, pour into glass jars and seal. It’s good for about a week, maybe longer, but it is best slightly warm.
Vata: Reduce the curry powder – add cinnamon, ginger, cardamom to taste. Cook in raisins, and toss with soups, creamy curries, stews, and warm, morning breakfast bowls.
Pitta: Replace the curry leaves and powder with parsley/dill. Use mint instead of curry leaves. Add a handful of thinly sliced seaweed, dulse or kombu. Be moderate with your intake of nuts.
Kapha: Not ideal. Reduce salt and add red pepper flakes, cayenne, black pepper, more ginger to really power up the spice.
Given that it is such a easy way to spice up any meal, do you think you will try it? What are you doing to keep your meals exciting and healthy? And, do you have any recipes or Ayurvedic kitchen medicine you would like me to post?
I invite you to share with #myfoodlovestory – and stay tuned because I am planning a summer pop-up shop with some of the most popular edibles from my blog. xo!