Neem Leaves in Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Neem, a tree commonly found in many parts of the world, has been used in various ways for centuries. One of its lesser-known uses is as an ingredient in traditional cuisine.

Despite its bitter taste, neem is considered a quintessential delight in many culinary cultures, including Indian cuisine.

In this article, we’ll explore the uses of neem leaves in Indian cooking and share some delicious neem-based recipes.

From Neem Begun to Vepampoo Rasam, these dishes will tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to the unique flavors of neem.

We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about neem, including the best way to cook and eat it, and what it’s called in different languages.

So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of cooking with neem leaves!

Uses of Neem Leaves in Indian Cuisines

Neem Leaves

Not only in Bengal but you can see the touch of Neem leaves all over India.

But to be honest as a Bengali I would really say that Neem is considered as one of the important quintessential delights that becomes an everyday side dish with steamed rice.

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Especially in the summer season when the spicy food items are less in your thali, here comes the intrusion of this dish.

Neem Begun, teto-r-dal, Neem Aloo Bhate, Neem Pata Bhaja are some of the patent items which you can serve with rice.

There are some of the special recipes which I will share with you but other than that you can check out Neem potato eggplant fry, Neem pumpkin, Papaya neem leaves crush stir fry, Neem Shukto (Mixed Veg. Curry with Neem Leaves), Neem Flowers Vada, Neem Phool ki Sabzi, etc.

Other than these you can simply Neem leaves just like that in the morning for medical wellness of the body.

Here are some of the super dishes that you actually cook with Neem:

Neem Begun:

This is a very easy and effective recipe which includes Neem leaves freshly cut and then cleaned nicely. Egg plants are also chopped in square shape.

Both of these two vegetables are stir fried with mustard seeds tempering and dried red chili.

You can add a little bit of turmeric and salt into it while stir frying it. it turns into a mishmash and you can serve it with steamed rice.

Neem Aloo Bhate:

This is simply a combination of neem, chilies and smashed potatoes.

The potatoes are simply boiled here and the tender neem leaves are fried till it becomes crispy.

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Here you just need to mix the two, smashed potatoes (Aloo Bhate) and the neem leaves with some salt and chilis.

Vepampoo (Neem Flower) Rasam:

Tamilians celebrate the new year with dried Neem flowers and raw mangoes – it symbolizes the combination of sweet, sour and bitter.

This is mixed in a recipe called Rasam. Here toor dal, mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves and Dried red chilies are fried in ghee.

This is added to the salt, sugar, water and tamarind mixture. Finally, the dried and roasted neem flowers are added to it which is known as Rasam. It is best paired with rice.

Ugadi Pachadi:

It is a traditional dish of Andhra Pradesh where coconut, raw mangoes, tamarind juice, green chilies or pepper, jaggery and ripe banana and neem buds.

It is made in the Earthen pot and earthy flavours makes the dish much more loveable.

Neem Pata Bhaja:

You can simply fry the tender neem leaves in ghee and eat it with steamed rice. This is one of the authentic dishes of Bengal.

Questions & Answers:

What is the Taste of Neem Patta?

The taste of the Neem is “Bitter”.

Can You Cook Neem Patta?

Yes, you cook the neem patta and eat.

What is the Best Way to Eat Neem Patta?

The best way to cook neem leaves is with eggplants. Here both neem leaves and egg plants are fried with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Little bit of salt and turmeric is added to it. You can serve it hot with steamed rice.

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What is Neem Pata Called in Different Languages?

Neem Pata is a Bengali word which is known as Neem Leaves in English and Neem Ke Patte in Hindi.

Conclusion

Neem leaves, with their bitter taste, are a staple ingredient in many Indian dishes, especially during the summer season.

From Neem Begun to Vepampoo Rasam, there are a variety of neem-based recipes to try.

The best way to cook neem leaves is with eggplants, and they can be simply fried and served with rice.

Neem leaves are also known for their medicinal properties and can be consumed raw in the morning.

Overall, neem leaves are a unique and flavorful addition to traditional Indian cuisine.

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