Bay Leaf (Tej patta)
Bay leaf is used alone or with other spices. Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. The leaves are often used to flavor soups, sauces, stews, meat dishes and pickling recipes,The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. Bay leaves can be grown in home herb gardens or purchased at any grocery store.If eaten whole, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavorings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme.
Bay Leaves– Names in different Indian Languages.
Hindi - Tejpatta, Bengal – Tejpaata, Gujrati – Tamal Patra, Punjabi – Tejpatta
Tamil - Talishappattiri, Urdu – Tej Pata
They contain the essential oil eugenol.
In Indian recipes, these are primarily used in curries and rice preparations.They are also used in soups, stews, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes.. In Pakistani cuisine, bay leaves are often used in biryani and other rich, spicy dishes. Although bay leaf is not an everyday ingredient in home cuisine.
Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground before cooking. Crushed bay leaves imparts more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, but are more difficult to remove, and hence are often used in a muslin bag or tea infuser or as whole.
Bay leaves must be stored in airtight containers as they lose aroma if kept open.
The leaves are most often used whole and removed before serving (they can be abrasive in the digestive tract). Ground bay laurel may be substituted for whole leaves, and does not need to be removed, but it is much stronger due to the increased surface area and in some dishes the texture may not be desirable.