Curry Leaves Podi (karuvepilai podi) is a dry chutney powder, which is served with rice and idly/dosai. Find step-by-step pictures for this Curry Leaves Podi.
The herb is the hero ingredient of the Curry Leaves Podi. Curry leaves are an integral part of Indian cuisine and even more so in South India. It is widely used in curries, chutneys, stews and more.
For those who are not familiar with the delicious herb, no, it does not have a curry flavour. Sorry to disappoint you, but it can add a delicate and earthy aroma/flavour to your food. When fresh curry leaves hit hot oil, the aroma is something else! It is not only a fantastic item to add to your foods, it is a nutritional powerhouse too.
Benefits of Curry Leaves
Besides it being fragrant and flavourful, this herb is also nutritious. It is known to improve eyesight, strengthen hair and can even as home remedy for skin issues such as burns and skin irritation.
As kids, we were encouraged to eat the leaves and not discard it when it was served with rasam/sambhar/ variety rice. Even as an adult, I still don’t waste it. I remember my mum and grandmum telling me how thick, shiny and black my hair would be if I had my curry leaves. I don’t know if it has had any hand at the blackness, thickness or lustre in my hair, but I do know that mum and grandmum knows best!
This native Indian plant can be commonly seen in the backyard of many South Indian homes. As little kids, we would be sent out to forage curry leaves. The leaves would then be added to the tempering or whatever it was intended to flavour. In my hometown, the herb is so easily available that we get it for free with grocery purchases, and in generous quantities.
Speaking of which, when I moved to Australia, curry leaves was a rare commodity. If I were lucky, I would find it at a green grocer or I would have to make a trip to an Indian grocer to procure it. Even when I did get my hot little hands on the curry leaves, they would cost a bomb! A small bunch typically costs between AUD 3 and 5. Yep, that’s right! I call these humble herbs Green Gold for the price I now pay to flavour my food!
However, the good news is curry leaves are easily available now (thank goodness for that!) and I have access to it at my local Coles or Woolies. The price is quite the same though. I found a good deal recently on the green gold that I decided to get two punnets of it. I have been craving Curry Leaves Podi for a while now and the excess stock in hand was the sign I have been waiting for.
Now coming to the Curry Leaves Podi, it is easy to confuse it with curry powder or other commercial Indian ready mixes; it is rather different and very yummy. If you have copious amounts of curry leaves, this recipe will be perfect to use it up. I make Curry Leaves Podi or Poondu Karuvepilai Kuzhambu. The podi stays fresh for a month and a bit.
It is easy to prepare, and the podi makes a handy condiment that you can keep in the pantry for when you desire a quick lunch. Just simply mix a heaped spoonful of this podi over hot rice, drizzle sesame oil or ghee. Mix well and enjoy with appalam or vadam.
Curry Leaves Podi Variations
- For a garlicky twist, add a few cloves of garlic or garlic flakes until golden after roasting the urad dal.
- Add other lentils such as roasted gram/channa dal to make this more wholesome. Reduce the urad dal quantity to ¼ cup and add roast ¼ cup of roasted gram/channa dal.
- Grated coconut or desiccated coconut adds good flavour. Roast the coconut until golden brown and add it with the remaining ingredients when grinding.
Check out these other South Indian recipes
- Curry leaves – 1 cup tightly packed
- Urad dal – ½ cup
- Black pepper corns – ½ Tbsp
- Dried red chillies – 8 to 10
- Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Salt – As required
- Remove the stems from the curry leaves.
- Wash the curry leaves well and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Heat a pan.
- Dry roast pepper corns.
- Remove from the pan and transfer into a clean plate.
- In the same pan, dry roast the curry leaves in slow flame.
- Keep stirring continuously.
- Remove curry leaves from the pan when the moisture is completely gone.
- Transfer it to the plate along with roasted black pepper.
- Heat oil in the same pan.
- Add the urad dal, red chillies and asafoetida.
- Fry in low flame until the dal is golden in colour.
- Transfer it to the plate along with the other ingredients.
- Let it cool completely.
- Grind the roasted ingredients with required salt into a fine or coarse powder.
- Store the podi in a clean container.
- Serve the Karuvepilai Podi with hot rice and sesame oil/ghee.
- Serve this Curry Leaves Podi as a dry chutney powder with idly/dosai/adai.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon or two of this podi when cooking potatoes or eggplants to give it a flavourful twist.
- Add the podi and tempering then mix it with cooked sevai/rice noodles.