It's No Longer - Kariveppila Poley
Kariveppila or Curry leaves are essential part of South Indian Cuisine, used in tempering most of the dishes. The curry leaves impart their taste and aroma to the dish.If you Google, advantages of curry leaves, you can see gazillion articles about it. But then when we find a Kariveppila (Karbevu in Konkani) in a dish, nobody eats it, they just keep it aside. Its thrown in the trash. Hence the saying in Malayalam - "Kariveppila Poley". It means that we just use someone/something for our benefit and just ignore/throw away when our needs are done. This is exactly the way people use Kariveppila or curry leaves.
In Bangalore, we had three curry leaves shrubs at home. Its a miracle they survived my green thumb or rather, the lack of it. I guess, these were the only three shrubs we had for sometime in our so called Vegetable Garden. Because I had three plants, I never had to buy curry leaves from stores. Whenever I needed curry leaves, just walk to the vegetable garden, grab a handful and use it. We also never treated curry leaves with respect. They did their job and while eating it was kept aside and thrown away.
After we moved to US, one of the things I miss are my curry leaves plants. Its not that we don't get curry leaves here. It's never "straight-from-the-plant" fresh. And another things is that, we have to pay for it. I still (even after 4 years of residing in the US) compare how it was easily available right in my garden and now I have to buy it from a store and I pay in DOLLARS. (Ask any Indian, they would still be mentally converting the dollars to Indian currency when they are in the US and are out shopping.)
It is still an essential part of our cuisine but now I am very conscious of how many curry leaves I am using (and just do not throw in a handful of them). And the best part is we do not throw away the curry leaves. When we find it, we eat it. So, the saying "Kariveppila Poley" is no longer meaningful, at least for us.
I try to use curry leaves in our diet in a variety of ways. This coconut curry leaves chutney, (my mom-in-law's recipe) is one such dish. It is very tasty with dosa.
Coconut Curry Leaves Chutney
- ⅔ cup Coconut grated
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper adjust to your taste
- 4-5 Curry Leaves
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Canola oil
- 1 Whole Red Chilli
- 2-3 Curry Leaves
- ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
- Grind together coconut, cayenne pepper, curry leaves and salt to smooth paste using sufficient quantity of water.
- Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds.
- When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves, and the whole red chilli.
- Pour the seasoned oil along with the spices into the ground chutney.