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Tej Patta-Chef Manjit Gill

Tej Patta – Known as Tamalpatra in Sanskrit and Marathi , Tej Patta in Hindi and Bengali, Ilavangapattiri in Tamil, Tejpat in Assamese, are used extensively in the our cuisines. Tej Patta is one of the ancient spice. These leaves belong to a tree that is closely related to the cinnamon tree. They have no English name, which might be called Indian Bay Leaves. The name Indian Bay Leaf or just bay Leaf causes confusion with the Bay Leaf from the tree Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin. Tej Patta and bay Leaf are in a different genus, the appearance and aroma of the two. Bay Leaf are shorter and light to medium green, with large vein down the length of the leaf. TejPatta are about the twice as long as wider of Bay Leaf, usually olive green to brownish in colour. Tej Patta is with three veins down to length of the leaf.
Tej Patta are very aromatic and have a aroma similar to that of the cinnamon bark or strong cassia with a hint of cloves. Bay leaves, on the other hand, have a mild lemony fragrance with a bitter undertone. Bay Leaf from Bay Laurel leaf’s aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.
For our cuisine Tej Patta tastes and give the best fragrance and not the Bay Leaf. Tej Patta or may call it Indian Bay Leaf subtly enhance the taste of our mix of spices. Cooking a simple pulao, when a large leaf of Tej Patta into the hot desi ghee along with any other whole spices. It will take the pulao to new heights and you will never use Bay Leaves as a substitute. If Tej Patta is not available, strongly recommended, it is better to use the clove and cinnamon double the quantity than making a substitution by using the Bay Leaf.
Bay Leaf refers to the aromatic leaves of many plants, like bay Laurel from Mediterranean region, California Bay Leaf is from the local tree known as California Laurel, little stronger than Mediterranean Bay Leaf. Indonesian Bay Leaf is from Indonesian Laurel – Salam Leaf. West Indian Bay Leaf is from local Bay tree call bay Rum. Mexican Bay Leaf is from lauraceae.
If Tej Patta eaten whole taste pungent and have a sharp bitter taste, like many spices. Flavoring and fragrance of the Tej Patta is more noticeable than taste.
The leaves are also exceptionally rich in many vitamins and minerals as can be seen in the table below. Bay leaf greatly helps in digestion. It is used as a natural remedy in a wide range of digestive disorders. Not only does it help in settling the stomach but also reduces the severity of problems, like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. It effectively reduces flatulence and other gas related problems. It contains enzymes which break down proteins and help in digesting meat dishes.

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