Indian cuisine seems completely out of place if there are no bay leaves or Tej Patta mixed up in it. Although, often ignored and overlooked by most of us, this humble spice never fails to play its role that gives immense pleasure to our palette. The meek ingredient when used in soups or stews always adds to their taste and aroma.
Some days when you’re feeling low or your mind seems clogged with so much going on around you, try grabbing a cup of bay leaf tea and trust me, the refreshing experience that you’ll have will be incomparable to many of the drinks combined.
No wonder why, many of the cultures across the globe use bay leaf in their dishes and give them prime importance in their culinary traditions!
Down the Historical Lane !
Also known as laurel or bay laurel, there are several legends concerning the origin of this spice. One of the folklore states about the time when Daphne transformed into the laurel tree when she was on the verge of being captured by Apollo (who was madly in love with her).
Bay Laurel was always a symbol of wisdom. It constituted an essential part of the Delphic rites. It was given as a reward for great achievements in the Greek empire. Slowly, the laurel gained the reputation of protecting from all types of disasters that affected mankind.
The medicinal value of the herb was long known, and was drunk as a tea during ancient times as it was considered anti-rheumatic. It was also believed to protect against all kinds of epidemics of the time!
A look at Bay Leaf !
These fragrant leaves that come from the laurel tree are present in whole or ground form. They are generally removed from the cooked food before eating.
They are today, commercially grown in Algeria, France, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
Uses of Bay Leaf- The Health Benefits !
While you use tej patta in many of your dishes round the clock, do you ever wonder whether this simpleton has any health benefits?
Surprisingly enough,bay leaves are extremely beneficial for our bodies than many of the spices combined.
Well, here is a tour of it:-
- Studies have shown that bay leaves are extremely helpful in digestion as they contain essential enzymes that break down complex proteins. It helps in the proper functioning of the system while decreasing the toxic levels of the body.
- Heart- related issues can also be avoided, if tej patta is added in day-today dishes. This is because they eliminate bad cholesterol from the body and strengthen the capillary walls in the heart.
- Diabetes is a common problem that has a reach far and wide. But this problem can be solved if bay leaves are consumed! Yes, consumption of laurels on a regular basis results in the drop of blood glucose levels, cholesterol and triglycerides. They help improve insulin function which ultimately helps the concerned diabetic patient.
- Bay leaf is said to have antimicrobial properties that increase the pace of healing of any kind of wounds. Apart from being a natural remedy, it helps relieve one from painful and irritating wounds.
- Due to a hectic and busy schedule, people these days tend to get stressed and are unable to find their way out. However, a certain amount of bay leaf intake from food can work as a stress- buster. The linalool present in this ingredient helps lower bouts of stress hormones and fights off the symptoms of depression. And so every time you’re down with something, the bay leaf is there for your rescue. So, just buck up and include this super meritorious spice in your day-today lives.
Bay Leaf And Various Recipes!
Tej Patta serves as an important ingredient in many of the cuisines across the globe. So, here are a few recipes that you can try at home with bay leaf at hand and experience the new flavor and aroma of every cuisine:-
- Shahi Pulao
The intricacies of this magnificent leaf reflects best in Shahi Pulao. The of first thing that attracts one towards this dish even before they see it, is its aroma, and that’s precisely what bay leaf gives to this recipe. A rich, luxurious aroma along with a palatable taste that makes it all the more appealing.
- Bharwan Baingan
Many of us are big fans of bharwan recipes and all the more of Bharwan Baingan. This is another dish that you can try making, while having a bay leaf as its base and trust me, everyone including children at your homes will not stop licking their fingers and plates once they have it.
Kadhi is a common food item made in Indian homes. To add up more to it, you can include bay leaf in this dish as Tadka or seasoning and experience the change in taste and aroma of the cuisine.
- Pyaaz Ki Kachori
Indians love cooking and all the more eating. As a matter of fact, snacks make up every occasion at our homes. Pyaaz ki kachori is one such dish that tastes exceedingly exotic and heavenly. Bay leaves when added initially while sauteing the onions for filling, they not only enhance their flavor but also add much more to their aroma.
A magic potion for cooking, bay leaf is indeed a much required ingredient in every cuisine made across the world!
Bay leaf has been a part of culinary cultures from across different time spans and traditions. A miraculous concoction, they contribute tremendously in Spanish and French to Indian and Thai cuisines.
Indeed, the simple yet super meritorious ingredient has known no boundary and continues to make its mark past all times and ages !