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Home Glossary Plant Derivatives Bay Leaf - Tejpatta

Bay Leaf - Tejpatta

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Tej patta. Dried leaves  are used to flavor curries and rice.

"Indian bay leaf" (also called tej pat, tejpat, or tejpata)

The leaf of the Cinnamomum tejpata (malabathrum) tree is similar in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the other bay leaves but is culinarily quite different, having an aroma and flavor more similar to that of Cassia. It is inaccurately called a bay leaf as it is of a different genus (though the same family) as the bay laurel.

Malabathrum, also known as Malobathrum or Malabar leaf, is the name used in classical and medieval texts for the leaf of the plant Cinnamomum tamala (sometimes given as Cinnamomum tejpata). In ancient Greece and Rome, the leaves were used to prepare a fragrant oil, called Oleum Malabathri, and were therefore valuable. The leaves are mentioned in the 1st century Greek text Periplus Maris Erytraei as one of the major exports of the Tamil kingdoms of southern India. The name is also used in mediaeval texts to describe the dried leaves of a number of trees of the genus Cinnamomum, which were thought to have medicinal properties.

The leaves, known as tejpat, tej pat, tejpatta, or tejpata in Hindi, are used extensively in the cuisines of India (particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India), where they are sometimes erroneously labeled as "Indian bay leaves".

The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia.

"Malabar" is the name of a region on the west coast of southern India that forms the northern portion of the present-day state of Kerala. The word "Mala" or "Malaya" means "Mountain" in the Tamil and Malayalam languages, as also in Sanskrit. The word "Malabathrum" is also thought to have been derived from the Sanskrit tamlapattram , literally meaning "dark-tree leaves."

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