Karuvepilai (Curry Leaf) Chutney

Curry leaf is one of my favorite herbs. It is the soul of Tamilian (Southern Indian) cooking. They add such a complex layer to food with their savory, fresh and slightly lemony taste. It is common misconception that curry powder or any and all curries are made from curry leaves. They have nothing to with curry powder or most northern indian curries.

This chutney was a staple during my childhood. It is versatile and makes a great condiment to most crispy indian snacks like pakorasbhajjis and samosas. They also pair well with south indian breakfast dishes like idly, dosa and upma.


5-6 stems curry leaves, washed
1 inch piece fresh tamarind (substitute 1/2 tsp tamarind paste)
2 tsp black gram dal
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
4 dried red chillies
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp canola oil

Pluck the leaves from the stem, discard the stems and wash the leaves well and set aside.


Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add the tamarind and curry leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes until the curry leaves slightly wilt. Transfer this to a blender.

In the same pan, add another tsp of oil and heat over medium heat. Add the black gram dal and fry till it starts to turn golden. Add the red chillies, asafoetida and fry for 30 seconds. Transfer this to the blender along with the curry leaves


Add salt and blend everything together into a smooth paste. Use a few tablespoons of water or as needed. Serve at room temperature.


This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. Here are the rules if you want to participate and  here’s Who’s Hosting Weekend Herb Blogging if you’d like to join the weekly celebration of cooking with fresh herbs.


  1. Thanks for the offer of help in using curry leaves and methi leaves. I have a recipe I’m going to try soon with curry leaves and black-eyed peas, so maybe if you notice that recipe you can tell me if I’m doing anything wrong! I do really like the flavor of them!


  2. Kalyn, Black Eyed Peas and Methi sounds really great. I will be sure to check it out.

    I just made a Black Eyed Peas curry for dinner tonight, I will be publishing that soon as well!


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  4. Absolutely colorful and healthy looking dish except cutting down on the salt to a small pinch. Salt, sugar and butter are the major culprits in veggie diet.


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