Bay leaf

Laurus nobilis

Origin: Mexico, Indonesia, the Caribbean and California.

Flavour: Sharp, pungent, and bitter. When dried the fragrance is almost floral and herbal.

Uses: Garam Masala, bouquet garni, tea, savoury dishes, essential oil.

Dishes: Beef stew, biryani, ratatouille, curry (Thai and Loatian), roasted potatoes, soups, pâté.

Bay leaves are a pantry staple that enhances dishes with its distinct flavour. A little goes a long way when added to various recipes from all over the world. This particular herb is one of those ingredients that can be noticed and sometimes missed when it has been omitted from certain cuisines. I always keep a bottle in my pantry because I never know when I am going to add it to a recipe.

Compliments: Garlic, oregano, mustard seed, parsley, thyme, sage.

Substitutes for Bayleaf: Oregano, thyme.