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What is the difference between Curry leaves vs Bay leaves
Difference between bay leaves and curry leaves

Two of the staple spices mainly in the Southern Indian and Sri-lankan cuisines you will find Curry leaves and Bay leaves in most households.

Although completely different to each other in taste and in appearance, few do get mixed up between bay leaves and curry leaves.

There also seems to be confusion with the types of bay leaves or laurel leaves. Here I make it easy for you recognise the type of bay leaf, know the difference between bay leaves and curry leaves and their uses in cooking.

What Is Laurel Leaf and How Is It Different From Indian Bay Leaves?

An interesting fact about laurel leave and Indian bay leaves or ‘tej patta’ as called in Hindi is that both are known as ‘Bay Leaves’

Not only do they come from different plant source they also have different taste and flavour.

With subtle differences between the two they can very easily be mistaken one for the other.

Do keep that in mind when you buy a particular type of bay leaf.

The table below clarifies the difference between the two in one glance.

Laurel Leaf Indian Bay Leaf
Image bayleaf- tejpatta- image-indian -spice - CopyIndian tej Patta
Leaf Appearance and Size Shorter, and pale green in colour with one vein going down the middle Longer, pointy and olive green in colour with three long lines running along the length of the leaf.
Tree Source Laurel treeCassia tree
Taste and Flavour Slightly minty, pine and lemonyTastes more of cinnamon and cloves
Uses in Cooking To make soups, broths and stewsFor making base gravy, curries and sauces
Difference Between Laurel Leaf and Indian Bay Leaves

Is Bay Leaf Similar To Curry leaves ?

Another common confusion when it comes to Indian leaf based spices or herbs is between curry leaves and bay leaves.

This could be stemming from the presence of bay leaves in most Indian curries, which may lead to people assuming that bay leaves are curry leaves due to the reference of Indian dishes popularly called a ‘Curry’.

The difference between Bay leaves VS Curry leaves is very easy to figure. They not only look different in appearance but also in their aroma and flavour.

Curry leaves in an aromatic herb that is used in Indian and Sri-lankan dishes. They have small slender pointy bright green leaves. I have discussed in detail about what is curry leave , how to use them in cooking and the substitutes for curry leaves in the highlighted text.

Bay leaves originate from the Laurel tree and have larger less pointed and paler green leaves. Some also refer bay leave as a spice even though it is a leaf. You can read all about Bay leaves and their uses here.

The image below highlights the difference between the two.

Difference between bay leaves and curry leaves  pinterest image

Can You Substitute Curry Leaves With Bay Leaves

Curry leaves can be a bit tricky to find and therefore quite often people substitute bay leaves for curry leaves.

Although the use of both curry and bay leaves in cooking are similar, using one for the other as a substitute is wrong. Both curry leaves and bay leaves have different flavour profile so they are not the best suited when replaced with the other.

For the best alternative to curry leaves click here

For the best alternative to bay leaves click here.

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