[Flavor Friday] Bay Leaf
Updated: Mar 2
What’s Bay Leaf?
Bay Leaf (Laurus Nobilis) is a leaf that has a strong aromatic smell that is commonly used in cooking (in a lot of cuisines, such as Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino cuisines). Due to the aroma that bay leaves possess, they are also sometimes known as a perfume for food.
Bay leaves have been around since the Ancient Greek and Roman times and therefore plays a huge role in ancient Greek mythology and Roman culture. It symbolizes honor and glory until today because of the story with Daphne, Gea, and Apollo. It originated from Asia Minor (aka Anatolia) and got passed to the Mediterranean region. Later, it became a commonly grown and used spice in other European regions where the weather is more suited for the cultivation of bay leaves (temperate weather). Bay leaves are also a staple for cooking a lot of Mediterranean dishes and European dishes in general. Nowadays, it is used in a lot of different cuisines and can be easily found in most stores.
What does it taste like?
When fresh, bay leaves are similar to other herbs but once it is dried, it is very aromatic and has a subtle but also bold flavor. When consumed fresh, it is more sharp and bitter. If bay leaves are dried and have been cooked, the floral fragrance will become strongly noticeable.
Commonly Used Cases
Bay leaves are usually packaged dry and can easily be found either in a dried leaf form or as a powder in the spices section. The leaves are commonly used in its entirety and often times simmered with soup, stews, sauces, curry, seafood and etc.. Even though it is cooked with a lot of different dishes, the leaves will usually be removed before serving. Alternatively you could also use the powder format instead so you wouldn’t need to remove it afterwards
Hot Pot Base, Beef Noodles Soup, Curry, Risotto, Pasta Sauce, Osso Bucco, Beef Stew