Recipe: Chef Vinod's Curry Leaf Drink From the Kitchen Window column
NPR logo Chef Vinod's Curry Leaf Drink

Chef Vinod's Curry Leaf Drink

Chef K. N. Vinod owns several popular restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area. This savory beverage is wonderfully refreshing.

Courtesy K.N. Vinod
Chef Vinod's Curry Leaf Drink
Courtesy K.N. Vinod

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 ounce peeled fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch)

1/2 serrano green chili, seeded (optional)

2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

2 1/2 cups water

Salt

Ice cubes, for serving

Cut the curry leaves into fine shreds. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool and crush to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Cut the ginger into fine shreds. Coarsely chop the chili, if using.

Combine the curry leaves, cumin, ginger, chili (if using), yogurt and water in a blender and mix well. Blend in salt to taste. Serve with ice cubes.

Variations

For a milder-flavored drink, lightly crush the curry leaves, ginger and green chili, stir them into the yogurt and water along with the crushed cumin, and refrigerate. Strain out the solids and season with salt before serving over ice.

If you do not want your drink to be spicy hot, omit the green chili.