Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Lemon Grass and Curry Leaves ~ Fragrant Fried Rice

Sliced Rings of Lemon Grass

I have been cooking with lemon grass a lot lately. Thanks to the strong presence of fresh seasonal produce from Asia, I can buy almost all kinds of vibrant looking vegetables readily here in Seattle. That includes fresh curry leaves and also herbs like lemon grass etc.

Prepping the lemon grass for cooking is easy. For the supermarket variety, cut and remove upper two thirds of dried out green grass/stalk. Lower part, the white bulbous portion is what we want. Make a shallow cut lengthwise in the middle of bulbous portion and remove at least two fibrous, woodsy looking outer layers. That would reveal a pale pinkish-white, citrus smelling lemon grass root. Finely slice the root into thin rings or pound in a mortar to a coarse paste. The soothing, refreshing lemony aroma is what makes this herb so special to me and I have been adding it to tea, rasam, and sambar and also to flavor the rice, mainly in stir-fried rice recipes.

Stir-fried brown basmati rice from India with crisp tasting sugar snap peas and green beans, liberally flavored with lemon grass and curry leaves - this recipe has become the most frequently prepared rice in our home for the past few weeks. It is easy to put together, makes use of spring vegetables that snap, and filled with lots of flavor. Scrambled paneer, tofu or eggs adds the protein component and makes this a complete meal for us.

Lemon Grass, Curry Leaves, Ginger, Fresh Red Chilli, Green Beans and Sugar Snap Peas

Cook 2 cups of brown basmati in 4 cups of water to tender. Cool to room temperature. ( Brown basmati offers a certain chewiness and richness of flavor. Cold rice makes better fried rice.)

Meanwhile prep the ingredients.

Cut fresh green beans and tender sugar snap peapods - quarter cup each
Finely slice Lemon grass and curry leaves - about 3 tablespoons each
Finely chop fresh red chillies- about a tablespoon
Grate fresh ginger -1 tablespoon
Grate fresh coconut - 4 tablespoons

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wide skillet on high heat. One by one add the ingredients listed above in the order mentioned and stir-fry few minutes each. Add the cooked rice. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. If you want you can also add little bit of soy sauce and chilli sauce at this stage along with scrambled paneer/tofu/egg. Stir well for a minute or two. Finish by adding some lemon juice and serve. Fragrant fried rice would be ready.

Fragrant Fried Rice with Lemon Grass and Curry Leaves

Recipe Notes:
Brown basmati avialable in most Indian grocery shops here in US.
I’ve purposely avoided adding onions/shallots, not to clash with lemon grass and curry leaves. This is a very adaptable recipe, experiment with different fresh vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini etc.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf), Sera (Lemon Grass), Brown Basmati (Monday May 7, 2007 at 5:04 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Curry Leaves and Ganji

Biyyam Karivepaaku Ganji:

Curry Leaves

I think curry leaves are nature’s helping way to make our cooking better, one meal at a time. How? - You might ask. Nature picked the prettiest shade of green, selected a pleasing shape and packed the most enticing scent known to mankind, and the result is the curry leaves. Add few leaves while cooking, even the mundane daily dishes become magnificent with minimum effort. Example is ganji. Ganji, Kanji, Congee, Jook or Okayu, not only several names, there are also different ways of ganji preparation across Asia. Almost in all recipes in India, curry leaves are added. The elixir of life needs curry leaves perfume.

Inspired by Mathy Kandasamy’s recipe and Ammini Ramachandran’s article, I have prepared ganji for our meal today. I changed the method little bit to suit my taste. I cooked Rosematta rice (the wholesome red rice from Kerala) in lots of water. I have also added curry leaves along with ginger and green chillies. (Adding them in the beginning is what I did different.) Once the rice is cooked, the rice water is drained and saved. To this nutrient packed, curry leaves-ginger infused rice water, I’ve added little bit of coconut milk. The result is a pleasant, pale-pink colored ganji. It’s been ages since I had a taste of ganji and my ganji meal today did not disappoint me. Rosematta goodness and curry leaves fragrance gave the ganji a distinctive and appealing flavor. A must try for fans of curry leaves and Rosematta.

Rosematta Rice, Curry Leaves and Shallot (Erra Gadda)


1 cup Rosematta rice
8 cups water
12-15 curry leaves, finely chopped
4 to 5 green chillies - finely chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut milk - homemade or store-bought

Take Rosematta rice in a big vessel. Wash first and then add about 8 cups of water. Sprinkle finely chopped curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and salt. Mix. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer, until the rice cooked to tender. Takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

The cooked rice water will be simmered down to about 4 cups. Lightly concentrated and infused with Rosematta, curry leaves and ginger goodness - ganji is ready for the final touch. Using a colander, drain rice into a big pot and save the rice water (ganji).

To this ganji, add coconut milk and mix. Adjust salt to your liking. Drink the ganji warm.

when times are hard, people have known to depend on ganji for sustenance. Also, it’s a blessing to people who wants to cut back on consumption. Exhaustng times or greedy glutton times, ganji is a great way to start a meal - any meal, that’s how I felt. No wonder, even to this day ganji is continued to be “Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort”.

Curry Leaves Infused Ganji - The Elixir of Life for JFI-WBB:Greens

Ganji and Rosematta Rice with Brinjal Curry ~ Our Meal Today

Congee: Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort ~ Informative article by Ammini Ramachandran
Recipe source: Virundhu of Mathy Kandasamy
Ganji is a Telugu word for Kanji, or Congee. Ganji tastes great when made with broken parboiled rice.
Traditonally cooked rice, buttermilk, small shallots and fresh cilantro are also added to ganji.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), The Essentials, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf), Rosematta Rice (Friday April 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Curry Leaves (Karivepaaku, Kari Patta)

Curry Leaves (Karivepaaku)

Curry leaves in Indian languages:
Assamese - no-ro-hxingo paat
Bengali - Barsunga
Gujarati - Mitho limdo,
Hindi - Meetha neem, Kari patta, Katneem, Bursunga
Malayalam - Kareapela
Marathi - Kadipatta
Oriya - Basango
Punjabi - Karipata, Karipatta, Bowala
Sanskrit - Girinimba, Suravi
Tamil - Kariveppilai, Karuveppilai
Telugu - Karepaku, Karivepaaku

For this week’s Indian Kitchen, it is “curry leaves”. This aromatic fresh herb is native to India and is an essential ingredient in popu or tadka. The leaves when lightly fried in oil or ghee, release wonderful fragrance and when mixed with rice or with dals, enriches them by their unique appetizing aroma and essential oils.

The curry leaves are in light green color when young and are usually added as whole to the cooking. The mature leaves are dark in green, and are usually teared into two or three pieces or finely chopped before adding to hot oil. For each recipe, the number of leaves I usually add varies from 4 to 10. Some recipes I blogged so far, where curry leaves are a must - 1.Coconut chutney 2. Chitrannam (lemon rice) 3. Sambhar, just to name a few.

If you live in a warm climate, it’s really easy to grow this small deciduous plant. Plant a mature fresh sprig branch or small seedling/offshoots in mineral rich soil, water it daily and watch it flourish into a fragrant, pretty neat plant. It needs sunshine and lots of it.

You can find packets of fresh curry leaves either in fresh vegetable section, or in refrigerated area of your local Indian grocery shop. Usually priced at one dollar a packet, even less during summer times. If you ask me, they are the best bargain, or the most over priced item:) one can buy in US. Fresh leaves stay fresh at least for two to three weeks, when stored in refrigerator, sealed in a plastic bag. When left opened, they dry out easily. Dried leaves can be used in cooking, but the flavor of fresh curry leaves is superior and irreplaceable!

More about curry leaves:
Curry Leaf Heaven
The Goodness of Curry leaves!
Curry Leaves, different names - Source

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf) (Sunday March 12, 2006 at 3:58 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: