sharing is caring by propagation, my curry leaf tree & red lentil dhal

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Home | 12 Comments

The coolest thing about this plant is that it was given to me by a good friend which was propagated by her good friend from the original tree. Sharing is caring people. Mine grew in a pot for about a year then got planted in the yard; fast forward another year and it’s mighty! It was a slow start but things got crazy this summer and it doubled in size (they grow up to 6 meters). The curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii) loves the sub-tropical Brisbane lifestyle; hot weather, full sun and well drained soil. I throw some organic fertilizer on it now and then but it’s low maintenance. The savoury aroma of curry leaves (or sweet neem leaves) always makes me hungry but then again that doesn’t take much. The fragrance is lost when dried so even growing in a small pot enables a fresh supply as well as preventing garden domination.

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So what to do with them? Add them to any type of Indian or Sri Lankan food, curries, pickles, chutneys, infuse oil or BBQ meat on the leaves. I think the best way to use them is to fry them in ghee (I’m a fan) at the beginning of the cooking process and keep them in. Don’t throw them out after cooking, eat them!; they’re high in vitamins A, B, C and E and are often used in Ayurveda medicine. So my thing with curry leaves is making dhal which tends to be one of those Sunday night dinners involving the use of anything lying around. Sometimes I make it with green and yellow split peas, cauliflower, spinach etc… however this red lentil dhal is my favourite. I got the feeling for this kind of dhal when I took Indian cooking lessons several years ago. By the way, curry leaves freeze well so thank goodness for that.

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Red lentil dhal

2 tablespoons ghee
1 brown onion, chopped
10 curry leaves
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon good salt (or to your liking)
Chilli powder to taste
Green chillies to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup washed red lentils
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Chopped coriander to finish

Heat ghee in a frying pan then throw in curry leaves and fry until you get the ultimate aroma hit. Add onion and cook for five minutes, then add the ginger until it’s lightly coloured. Add cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute then throw in the chopped tomato and cook for about 5 minutes until the liquid evaporates and it almost becomes paste like. Then add salt, chilli powder, chillies, turmeric powder and cook for a couple more of minutes. Add the lentils with 2 cups of homemade chicken stock (or water) then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer for around 10 minutes until lentils are soft but hold their shape.

Traditionally this dhal is meant to be quite ‘soupy’ however I like it with less liquid but add more if you wish. Serve with garam masala, chopped coriander leaves and yoghurt on the side. I usually accompany dhal with naan bread when I have the time but you could also serve with basmati rice or quinoa :: Jem x

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12 Comments

  1. GourmetGetaways
    April 9, 2014

    I have one of these trees in a pot at the moment but I am thinking of transferring it to the garden as it’s looking a little sad 🙁
    Your recipe for Dahl looks delicious, I might have to make some for lunch! Yum!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      April 9, 2014

      I just ate the rest of it for my lunch! It’s definitely getting to be dhal weather here now. So glad you have a curry tree. Nothing beats fresh leaves (the same for bay leaves). If you plant it out in the garden, just give it plenty of room. It likes to take over a bit 🙂

      Reply
  2. Packster the Rapstar
    June 10, 2014

    Cooking this tonight, as we speak x

    Reply
  3. Nagi@RecipeTin Eats
    July 23, 2014

    Wow, I am so inspired by your blog! I dream of growing at least some of my own veggies, other than just a few scrawny essential herbs. I’m so glad I came across your blog! I am new to blogging (Aussie-Japanese) and am in awe of how many amazing Australian blogs there are and so excited discovering them all! I am literally losing time as I browse through them. Signing off to keep looking through yours!! I love daal and I love your fresh take on daal, so much healthier than the oily versions I keep seeing around!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 23, 2014

      Hi Nagi, thank you for your kind comments and welcome to blog world! I’m sure you will grow your own veggies…if I can grow my own food, anyone can! I just checked out your blog and it looks awesome. I will be following 🙂

      Reply
  4. Jamie
    September 29, 2014

    My first dhal (Charmaine Solomon cookbook red lentil dhal) was such an instant hit that it immediately joined my “comfort food” list of favourites. I like it because it’s a bit porridgey. While I love eating all sorts of dhals and trying new dhal recipes, I always have a hankering for a red lentil dhal when I’m in need of both comfort food and spice!

    Nice curry tree, too, by the way. Mine loved Sydney so much its burstingly strong roots cracked open two ceramic pots. Can’t imagine how much it’d love Brizzy.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      September 29, 2014

      I completely agree Jamie, it is the ultimate comfort food and extremely healthy as well. Once you find a great recipe for something, you rarely turn back. Anything Charmaine Solomon is good particularly. Yes, it’s starting to warm up here in Brissie and the curry tree is going nuts. You have to watch them that’s for sure…

      Reply
  5. Emma @ Emma's Garden Grows
    February 11, 2015

    I need someone to give me a cutting of a curry leaf tree! The dried ones are terrible and I don’t live anywhere near a decent asian grocer to get the fresh ones.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 11, 2015

      It’s great having one because they are hard to get fresh but try and keep it in a pot if you can…they go feral in the ground and I’ve had to keep cutting ours back!

      Reply
  6. Sam Rutherford
    May 2, 2016

    Tried this one Jem. Worked out really well. I just added my liquid because I like it as a soup.

    Reply

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