Recently, I’ve read a lot about fresh curry leaves in various recipes, and I’m thinking, how can that be? Curry, as a spice, is a total mixture of spices and can be mild, medium, or hot (Madras), depending on the combination. So how can there be fresh curry leaves?
Well there are, and you can eat the whole leaf! So I took a trek to dependable Kalustyan’s on Lexington Avenue between 28th and 29th Street. They have EVERYTHING!!! You’ll say, “Holy-crap there’s so many herbs, spices and seasonings from all over the world here that I’ve never even heard of!” (No one there asked me to write this but if you are in NYC, you really should go. It is a food lovers party place!) If you don’t live nearby, you can go online and order from them, although the curry leaves must be shipped overnight as they should be refrigerated. It’s $4.99 for a 1 oz. bag and I used the whole bag in this recipe.
The curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii) is a small bush or tree that only grows 13 to just under 20 feet in height. The plant is tropical to sub-tropical and native to India and Sri Lanka.
I think I might try to grow my own curry plant as I have fallen in love with these curry leaves. They are very fragrant and taste and smell like…curry!! But I’m talking about really fresh curry and not so overpowering. They add a delicious and different twist to any dish. Use this exotic new flavor to garnish any vegetable or meat. You really should try them and try this recipe. I used the whole bag for maximum impact. Once you find them, you will crave them.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH FRESH CURRY LEAVES & LEMON, ONION BUTTER SAUCE
31/4 lb. whole chicken, washed, dried, extra fat & backbone removed
1 oz fresh curry leaves, washed and air-dried
1 Tbs. olive oil
Fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 small onion minced
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the minced onions on low heat. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, sweating and softening the onions. Then add the worcestershire sauce. Off heat, blend in the lemon juice and a little salt and pepper.
Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone and remove it. Remove the wing tips. Freeze the backbone and wing tips for the next time you make stock. Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. Using a small sharp knife, cut partway through both sides of the joint between the thighs and the drumsticks. Cut partway through the joint between the wings and the breast. This will make the white meat and dark meat cook more evenly and the whole chicken will cook faster.
For the curry leaves, use all but one stem. Save that for garnishing. Carefully lift up the skin on the breasts and thighs and spread the whole curry leaves around underneath the skin, evenly distributing them
Rub the chicken with a little olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides.
Oil a grill plate and heat up on the grill to 425 degrees. Place chicken on the grill plate, bone side down, cover and roast for 10 minutes. Baste with the lemon butter sauce. Turn the chicken over, baste on the bone side, cover and roast for 10 – 15 minutes, more until done. Remember, this chicken does not take long to cook because the slits were made in the thighs and wings.
Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces to serve. You can use any leftover basting sauce to put on the chicken because you never basted raw meat.
Chop the remaining curry leaves and garnish the chicken. Serve with LOVE and enjoy!!