A very common herb that is added to dishes around the world for its distinctive flavor. When the leaves and fruit are dried, they are called coriander.

Curry leaves


Found on curry trees popular in India, these leaves are added to many south Indian dishes because of their distinctive flavor. My family keeps a few small curry trees in our house for their beauty and leaves. 

Fenugreek leaves

(Uluva ela/Vendaya keerai)

Leaves from the fenugreek plant with a slightly bitter taste.  


(Vellulli or Veluthaulli/Vellai poondu)

A popular member of the onion family that is used for its pungent and enticing flavor.



A knobby, pale root, ginger with a distinctive, potent flavor is used in savory and sweet dishes around the world. It is peeled and minced before it is used. 

Green chiles

(Pacha mulagu/Pacha milagai)

Small green chiles add a medium amount of heat to Indian food while adding a lot of flavor.

Mint leaves


These leaves are used for their fresh - minty flavor in several Indian dishes including raita and chutney.

Herbs Used in South Indian Cooking

Most of these fresh herbs used in Indian cooking can be found in the produce section of any grocery store. Only a few of them will require a trip to the Indian grocery. 

The Malayalam and Tamil names for each type of herb are also provided. 

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