Herbs are less essential to Indian cookery than spices, however they do play an important role and can be the crucial missing ingredient in some dishes. Herbs can be chopped and added into curries during cooking. Generally light herbs should be added towards the end and more robust herbs added near the beginning. Most often in Indian curries, the herbs are added as a garnish
The leaves and the seeds of the coriander plant are used in Indian cookery. The seeds can be used ground, whole or slightly crushed. The dark earthy brown powdered form is used in most Indian curries. The fresh green leaves have a strong orange aroma. The leaves can be roughly torn and used to garnish a curry, or finely chopped and added to many curry dishes.
Basil leaves are sweet, peppery and very pungent. They are used in Thai dishes and some Indian dishes. Fresh Basil should always be used, never dried. Basil leaves should be chopped or torn at the last possible moment as they begin to blacken and wilt quite quickly after being broken.
The leaves of the sweet bay tree are easily found in dried form but are best fresh. They can be added to any curry dish to impart a little flavour. Bay leaves impart most flavour during long slow cooking processes such as casseroling.
From the onion family, this robust herb is best used fresh. It has long tube shaped leaves. Use as an alternative to coriander to sprinkle over a prepared curry dish before serving.