Mamta's Kitchen

Forum Thread - Bay Leaves

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Martin, on 23/12/2017 07:36pm

Hi Mamta,

I've come across Indian Bay Leaves which I think come from the Cassia plant. These aren't interchangeable with Mediterranean Bay Leaves are they? Do you specify Indian Bay Leaves in your recipes if they are preferred?


Mamta, on 23/12/2017 07:55pm

You are right Martin. You only have to look at their veins to see that they are different. The ones you buy from Indian shops look very old to me and are often broken. There is not much arona to thrm.

So I ususlly use fresh bay laurel leaves from my tree or dry a few for rainy/icy days or for when I am simply too lazy to go out!

Martin, on 23/12/2017 08:45pm

Perhaps I should find a supplier of fresh Indian Bay Leaves - I bet thet are as rare as hen's teeth! Anyway, my best festive greetings to you and your family, and of course your cookbook listers!

Mamta, on 23/12/2017 10:02pm

Wish you a Merry Christmas too 😀

Phil, on 14/1/2018 01:42pm

That's interesting: I didn't know that there were Indian bay leaves. If they come from the cassia plant, that's perhaps where cassia bark comes from: I've used this instead of cinnamon in the past.

I miss the bay leaf bush I used to have in France: I'd just pop out by the swimming pool and pick them fresh. Lovely scent. I often can't smell a thing from the dried bay leaves I buy, which is a shame, since I make a lot of stock, which I add bay leaves to.

I'll try Maqbool's Indian supermarket, near the mosque in Edinburgh: they do fresh curry leaves, so they might do fresh Indian bay leaves too.


Helen Bach, on 15/1/2018 12:24am

Bay leaves (European) contain cineol, eugenol, limonene and linalool, according to internet sources, which can also be found (respectively) in cardamom, cloves, lemons/oranges and coriander/lavender.

Cassia leaves contain cinnamaldehyde, found in cinnamon and cassia bark.

So other than looking similar, in some respects, flavour chemicals are completely different.

Personally, I hardly use bay leaves (I have a little tree) and never use the dried up cassia leaves. If a recipe calls for them, I add a little cardamom powder or cassia bark, as above.

Phil, on 15/1/2018 06:43pm

Thanks for that info, Helen.

I went to Maqbool's in Edinburgh: they said they'd never heard of Indian bay leaves!

But I got some fresh curry leaves from them, and stumbled upon fresh methi, which I'd never seen before: it had a lovely scent!

I've only ever used chopped dried methi, but I see now that Mamta has lots of recipes for fresh methi, so I think I'll have a go at some of those, including my own fenugreek chicken recipe, which has both ground fenugreek seeds and fenugreek leaves.


Mamta, on 16/1/2018 11:35am

For adding into meats/chicken etc., I use dry methi, called Kasoori methi. I do however buy a box of methi leaf bundles in summer, clean, wash and dry them and then store t5hem for the whole year. Dry methi leaves are very nice if you add a little to various Indian bread doughs, like parathas, naans, chapatties, cornmeal roties etc

Phil, on 18/1/2018 04:38pm

Oh, I didn't know that you could add kasoori methi to breads!

I use them in various Indian stews and curries.

Do you freeze your fresh methi, Mamta?

I put some fresh curry leaves in a Libyan soup today (why not?): the scent is really pungent.


Mamta, on 19/1/2018 04:58am

Phil, fresh methi leaves are used as a vegetable, but dry methi leaves are used to flavour all sorts of Indian dishes, especially meat curries, parathas, poories, pakoras (like Onion Bhaji) etc. Fresh, lightly fried methi leaves in parathas dough are excellent.

No, I don't freeze methi leaves, but you can buy frozen leaves from large Indian grocers, especially the ones that serve Gujarati communities, like Wembley in London.

Pungent as in nice pungent or bad? I would add only a handful of fresh or a small/flat tablespoon to things like soup.

Hope this helps


PS: I am busy for next couple of days, but may be I should sit down and write down something about use of Methi leaves in Indian cuisine ;)!

phil, on 21/1/2018 03:26pm

Ah, more info on methi leaves: thanks, Mamta! If you get the time to write something up on that topic, I'd be interested.

When I say 'pungent', I mean nice: really aromatic. I add two or three fresh curry leaves to certain spicy soups, such as chicken mulligatawny, whose etymology I learned about from you, Mamta.

I had a Master Class on making sushi yesterday, led by my brother, who lived in Japan for many years. The grandsons were really getting stuck into slicing peppers and spring onions. The thing is to get the right rice. We had fresh tuna and salmon, and crab sticks, as well as avocados, peppers and cucumber, with Japanese soy sauce, and wasabi. Delish, and a fun, sharing, experience for friends and family.

I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow to get the sushi ingredients from a Chinese supermarket. Sushi are SO expensive to buy, so it's best to do your own.


Mamta, on 22/1/2018 04:24am

I will write the bay leaves, if I remember :)

Enjoy making Sushi :)


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