substitute for curry leaves

There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of an essential ingredient to make a dish. Although famous in many countries around the globe, Curry leaves may be slightly more challenging to locate in Western countries, such as those in the United States and countries in Europe but don’t worry in its absence substitute for curry leaves got you covered to make delicious and tasty recipes any time of the day.

Most popularly used for flavoring Indian cuisines, curry leaves are perfect for making your food stand out. Curry leaves are incredibly fragrant. They impart a fresh and citrusy taste to your food.

In addition to adding a distinctive Indian flavor to food, curry leaves have a tremendous nutritional value. Research has proven that these herbs can improve metabolism, digestion as well as hair growth.

What are Curry Leaves?

Curry leaves are flavorful as they are a refreshing, intense flavor with a sweet and tangy smell. They are a blend of the flavors of kaffir lime and basil. They resemble lemongrass and lemon rinds as well as being quite refreshing. Curry leaves, when cooked, alter their taste, becoming slightly bitter, with a nutty aroma while remaining fresh with a citrusy scent.


Curry leaves are commonly utilized to make several Indian and South Asian cuisines, including Sri-Lankan Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian. Although you can eat them raw, curry leaves are delicious; they’re the best when cooked.

They can enhance the flavor of a dish when it is sautéed in ghee or oil or any other fat to release the flavor they hold. You can also add curry leaves to broths, infusions, and sauces. They enhance the flavor of meats but can also bring out the best of rice and vegetables.

In terms of their appearance, they are long and have a glossy deep green hue. They resemble bay leaves, but unlike bay leaves, you can leave them in your food. You can certainly add them to your food and then remove them if you’re not keen on finding herbs in your food. However, you can chop them up finely and include them in your food for added flavor.

You will usually find curry leaves in farmer’s markets or the local Indian supermarkets. After purchase, they can be stored for a considerable time and retain their taste when refrigerated, dried, and even frozen. Although you might notice they change in color and texture, their flavor stays the same.

Substitute and alternatives For Curry Leaves

If there are situations when you realize you cannot get this ingredient to make your favorite recipe, there are other options to get around. How can you substitute curry leaves?

Bay Leaves

The most popular alternative is the bay leaf, a common herb used in Indian and Mediterranean food preparations. The plant is laurel and is usually offered in dried varieties. In addition to the sweetness and citrusy flavor in curry leaves, they add minty, sweet, and a deep earthy flavor to your food. So bay leaves are an excellent alternative to curry leaves.

You can add this flavorful herb to soups, casseroles, rich soups, stews, sauces, and other comfort food items. They are also great with stir-fry vegetables, curries, salad, and the water used to boil seafood (shrimp crabs, shrimp, etc.)

Additionally, they are packed with health benefits, including fighting muscle irritations and dandruff. In addition, the polyphenols in bay leaves can help control and prevent diabetes and other cardiovascular illnesses.

In quantities, bay leaves can be strong, so make sure you take only one bay leaf per half the amount in curry leaves. This will help to maintain the intense aromas of the ingredients and you’ll be able to create an item that has a balanced flavor.

Substitute for bay

Basil Leaves

It may sound odd, as basil is often used in Italian cuisine and other Mediterranean cuisines. In contrast, curry leaves are typically associated with the cuisine of South India.

But, you can combine it with the zest of a lime or lemon to create the ideal alternative to curry leaves for your cooking. For the taste, although it might not possess the same citrus twang that curry leaves do, however, it’s undoubtedly fresh, similar to a curry leaf. Basil is very fragrant and sweet in its scent, so it requires an element of contrast to provide the same taste combination that curry leaves provide.

It has a refreshing scent, aroma minty taste, and adding lemon juice may help add a hint of tang and lemon zest to give the zesty taste. This mix is ideal for replacing curry leaves because it blends the notes, scents, and tastes.

Use the same amount of basil leaves that you would use for the curry leaves. You can also add lemon or lime zest or even some lemon juice to bring out the flavor. You can use basil leaves as a substitute for curry leaves in salads, soups and dips, curries, and in recipes from both Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, respectively.

basil leaves

Lemon zest or lime zest

The lemon or lime zest is another excellent substitute for curry leaf in various recipes. The curry leaf, as we already know, is famous for its citrus-tasting scent. It is not as refreshing in flavor as lemon or lime; however, in situations where you require that zest of lemon, citrus, or lime zest, you can make use of it, which is easy to locate.

Choose the freshest lemons and limes you can, and go for organic if you can afford it. Grate the skin of your preferred citrus fruit to create the zest. Please do not throw away the remainder of the lime or lemon but, you could make juice to use in the recipe or save it for the end while baking snacks, a smoothie, or even for a different recipe.

The juice of a lemon or lime is exceptionally sour, fresh, and bursting with scent. This is due to the oil in the rind. Therefore, it is not necessary to incorporate a large amount of it into your dishes. If you are using it instead of the curry leaf in your dishes, it is essential to bear in mind that it’ll be more pronounced in citrus-like flavor, which is why you will only require a tiny quantity. Otherwise, it could be too strong.

Make use of less citrus or lime zest as compared with curry leaves. With this in mind, when the recipe states that you use 1 teaspoon of curry leaf, you must only use half of one teaspoon of lime or lemon zest. Of course, it is possible to spice up the recipe based on what you want, but keep in mind that the lemon or lime will be more prominent.


Lemon Balm Leaves

Lemon balm, sometimes called melissa, has a fresh minty scent and is somewhat like curry leaves. Although it is part of the mint group, it has a lemon-rind flavor. Its refreshing flavor is an excellent alternative. Its refreshing and citrusy scent will remind you of the spicy curry leaves’ lemony taste.

Lemon balm can be used as an alternative in any recipe that contains curry leaves. You will not be dissatisfied.

This perennial mint plant is an excellent substitute for curry leaves in various meals, particularly soups, salads, and stuffing. Eating the herb will indeed help ease stress, insomnia, and anxiety due to its relaxing effects. Lemon balm can also help with constipation that can range from bloating to upset stomach and even hysteria.

Additionally, it has antibacterial properties, which can provide more protection against heart disease and diabetes. The consumption of lemon balm leaves regularly will also improve your quality of sleep and your ability to concentrate.

It is recommended to use two lemon balm leaves to replace three curry leaves. Make sure you put the root in the garbage and use the lemon balm leaves for cooking only. if you love lemon zest in your recipes, you may also like to checkout lemon extract alternatives to add in dishes for great taste.

Kaffir Leaves (Makrut lime)

They aren’t easy to locate, like curry leaves, but they could provide the same taste to your meals. Like curry leaves, they have a distinctive and robust flavor, enhanced by the citrus flavor. It is important to note that Makrut lime leaves add flavor to the food and should not be consumed whole.

It is without doubt that one of the best substitutes that you can add to your meals for curry leaves are the leaves from the kaffir lime. Kaffir limes can also be identified by their other name, Makrut lime, so they are often known as Makrut lime leaves.

These leaves function very well as a substitute for those of Kaffir lime tree because the taste of both is highly similar. This is because the kaffir lime is an essential ingredient in numerous Indian dishes and is commonly used throughout India and in many South Asian dishes.

Regarding appearance, they appear very similar as they both have glossy green hues and a teardrop-shaped shape. The primary distinction is that Kaffir lime leaves are more likely to be slightly more citrus-like in flavor when contrasted with the curry leaf, which is not as acidic.

The differences are so small that you’ll probably be able to use them in almost all recipes that require curry leaves. It’s perfect for stir-fry dishes as well as curries, soups, and the preparation of rice. They can be included in fish dishes or coupled with meat and even in many Thai recipes. They are delicious with coconut milk to make delicious Thai curries.

Use the same quantity of kaffir lime leaves as you would use for curry leaves.

dried kaffir lime
dried kaffir lime leaves

Daun Salam Leaves

In the realm of when it comes to talking about curry leaf substitutes, the ingredient isn’t as well-known since there aren’t many people who are aware of this. It is an excellent condiment for meaty dishes. It has a sweet, spicy, earthy, minty flavor similar to cinnamon, just slightly milder. It is excellent for meat dishes, but less for vegetable meals.

In the family of bay leaves, this Indonesian species is a remarkable instance. It has a distinctive smell that is distinct from other types of bay leaf. Don’t be concerned if you’ve never heard about this ingredient as it is not the most well-known species in the world of herbal medicine. But, Daun Salam leaves fulfill the function of curry leaves excellently.

daun-salam leaves

While it is similar to curry leaves, the Indonesian sauce has a more substantial like a cinnamon flavor and is a mix of flavors like earthy, cool mint, and spicy, as well as sweet. However, it’s more mild than cinnamon. One good idea is to substitute a cup of curry leaves with 2-4 Daun Salam leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Curry Leaves

What happens when you eat curry leaves daily?

Consuming raw curry leaves or drinking tea made from curry leaves every day can help prevent weight gain and help lower body cholesterol. It assists in detoxifying the body by ridding harmful toxins of the body. It also assists in burning excess fat, thereby promoting weight loss.

What number of curry leaves do we need to consume in the early morning?

Try eating 4 to 5 curry leaves in the morning with an empty stomach. It is believed to help treat various eye problems. Many people eliminate curry leaves from their dishes because they believe it’s an extra added ingredient. This ingredient, which is commonly utilized for South Indian cooking and some rice cooker dishes, should be consumed to satisfy a variety of reasons.

Can eating curry leaves help prevent hair from becoming grey?

Curry leaves can be extremely helpful in rejuvenating the hair’s roots. They are rich in vitamin B. Vitamin B present in curry leaves aids your hair follicles, restores the natural color pigment, and consequently, stops premature greying.

How do you store curry leaves?

Here’s How to Conserve Curry Leaves Over A Long:

  • Take the leaves off on the main stem.
  • Cleanse the leaves and rub them with an old kitchen towel or any other clean cloth.
  • Place them on a plate and let them dry in the sun for up to three days.
  • When they are dry and have a smooth texture, try to put them in an airtight box.
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