Botanical name: Cinnamomum tamala Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Synonyms: Cinnamomum albiflorum, Laurus tamala
Indian bay-leaves are the leaves of a tree closely related to Cinnamon. The tough, three-veined leaves are very popular in Northern India, but are little known elsewhere — at least, today. They were well known to the Romans under the name malobathrum (also spelt malabathrum) and used both for perfumery and in cooking. The name Bay Leaf is used for some other plant (Laurus nobilis). So, this one is called Indian Bay Leaf. It is a small to moderately sized ever green tree. Plants are raised from seeds sown in nursery beds in March-April. Seedlings are transplanted to the field in rows of 2 m apart with a spacing of 3 – 3.5 m between plants. Leaves are collected in dry weather every year from vigourous plants, dried in the sun and tied up into bundles for marketing. Flowers are tiny, greenish yellow, insignificant. Today, Indian bay-leaves are a spice used almost exclusively in the kitchens of Northern India, especially in the famous Moghul cuisine that was developed at the Imperial courts in Delhi and Agra. One example of such a dish is biriyani बिरयानी.
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The flower labeled Indian Bay Leaf is ...