The main difference between curry leaves and bay leaves is that curry leaves are smaller and shinier than bay leaves.
Curry leaves and bay leaves are two types of fragrant herbs used in cuisine. Curry leaves are mainly used in South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes while bay leaves are used in many European dishes. Although some people substitute them for one another, there are distinct differences between curry leaves and bay leaves.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Curry Leaves
– Definition, Properties, Uses
2. What are Bay Leaves
– Definition, Properties, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Curry Leaves and Bay Leaves
– Comparison of Key Differences
Bay Leaves, Curry Leaves
What are Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are an aromatic herb used in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. These are leaves of the Murraya koenigii, which is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, native in Asia. Curry leaves are small in size and have a long, slender and oval shape that narrows to a point. The average size is about 2-4cm in length and 1-2cm in width. Moreover, these leaves are glossy and vibrant green and have a paler green underside. They grow pinnately along a stem, and each branch of the tree can hold up to around twenty leaves. Curry leaves have a slight citrus scent and a distinct pungent taste. They have often been compared to lemongrass.
Curry leaves are usually sold in their fresh form while still attached to the branch. They are mainly used in sautéing, boiling and steaming. Curry leaves add flavour to many South and West Indian and Sri Lankan curries, rice dishes, stews and soups. These leaves are edible and do not have to be removed from the dish after cooking is complete. Moreover, curry leaves have long been used in Ayurveda medicine.
What are Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are aromatic leaves from the bay laurel plant, an evergreen shrub that grows in warm climates. They are available as fresh leaves, dried leaves or as powder. These leaves are long, oval, and taper to a slender point. The average size of a leaf is about 7-10 cm in length and 3-5 cm in width. Bay leaves have a herbal and floral scent similar to thyme and oregano.
Dried bay leaves are leathery and have a deep olive green while fresh leaves are dark green and are smooth and shiny on the top surface and have paler green colouring on the underside. Most recipes call for dried bay leaves, which have a slightly stronger scent than fresh leaves.
Bay leaves are not recommended for consumption since they are large and stiff and can harm the digestive tract or cause choking. Therefore, you have to remove the bay leaves from the dish after cooking. Moreover, you can keep dry bay leaves up to two years if you store them in a cool and dry place that does not get direct sunlight.
Difference Between Curry Leaves and Bay Leaves
Curry leaves are an aromatic herb used in South Asian cuisine while bay leaves are aromatic leaves from the bay laurel plant.
Curry leaves are leaves of the curry leaf tree Murraya koenigii while bay leaves are leaves of the Bay laurel plant.
Curry leaves are smaller, glossier and greener than bay leaves.
The average size of a curry leaf is about 2-4cm in length and 1-2cm in width while the average size of a bay leaf is about 7-10 cm in length and 3-5 cm in width.
It’s important to note that curry leaves are edible while bay leaves are not safe for consumption. This is why you have to take out bay leaves from a dish after cooking, but you don’t have to take out curry leaves after cooking.
Curry leaves are sold in fresh form, while attached to the branch, whereas bay leaves are mostly sold in dried form.
Type of Cuisine
While curry leaves are mainly used in South Asian cuisine, bay leaves are used in European cuisine.
Curry leaves are leaves of the curry leaf tree Murraya koenigii while bay leaves are leaves of the Bay laurel plant. The main difference between curry leaves and bay leaves is that curry leaves are smaller and shinier than bay leaves. It’s also important to note that curry leaves are edible while bay leaves are not safe for consumption.
1. “What Are Curry Leaves? How to Use Curry Leaves in Cooking – 2020.” MasterClass, 2 July 2019, Available here.
2. Alfaro, Danilo. “Bay Leaves: A Fragrant Herb to Add to Your Cooking.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.