Looking for an alternative to Curry Leaves? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Curry Leaves substitutes.
What are Curry Leaves?
No prizes for guessing that Curry Leaves come from the Curry Tree. They’re a leafy green herb used in Indian cooking. The flavour is strongly aromatic and fragrant especially when fried. They add the most divinely complex curry flavour where ever they are used.
The leaves can be fresh or dried and can be added to curries or other dishes at the beginning of cooking. Or they can be fried or roast in oil until crispy and added when serving.
The Best Curry Leaves Substitutes
(in order of preference)
1. Skip it
IF your dish has a curry paste or powder there will be enough flavour that you won’t miss the curry leaves.
2. Coriander (Cilantro)
While coriander has a completely different flavour to curry leaves, I can’t think of a place where the aromatic freshness wouldn’t work exceptionally well as an alternative. Cilantro won’t go as crispy when fried though – so I’d just use the leaves raw.
Will work in a similar way but just takes the flavours in a different direction. Basil packs a big flavour punch so you won’t feel like you’re missing anything.
Again mint has a completely different flavour but will provide freshness and beautiful green colour if added at the end.
5. Flat Leaf Parsley
On the flavour side, parsley is much more subdued than coriander, basil or mint. But it does add some lovely freshness so if it’s the only herb you have it will be better than nothing.
6. Roast Almonds or Cashews (or other nuts)
If your dish is calling for fried curry leaves to serve, roast nuts will give the textural contrast that the fried leaves provide. The flavour profile will be different but not necessarily in a bad way.
How to Prepare Curry Leaves
If using fresh leaves, wash, dry then pick the leave away from the stems and just use the leaves. No need to wash dried leaves.
How to Store Curry Leaves
I keep mine wrapped in paper towel and then in plastic bag in the fridge. Will keep for 1-2 weeks, depending on how fresh it was when you bought it. OR the leaves can be frozen.
Delicious Curry Leaves Pairings
- Chilli & Curry Leaves
- Cashews & Curry Leaves
- Chicken & Curry Leaves
- Lime & Curry Leaves
- Mint & Curry Leaves
- Lemon & Curry Leaves
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!