What is Indian Bay Leaf?

Cinnamomum tamala


Indian bay leaf is an aromatic, usually dried leaf of the Indian Bay Leaf tree (Cinnamomum tamala). The leaf used to flavour and season food, just like the European bay leaf, commonly known as Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis).

Indian bay leaf tree is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and China and belongs to the same genus as cinnamon. The aroma is due to presence of essential oils eugenol, linaloo and Beta-caryophyllene. It’s usually marketed as Indian Bay Leaf or just Bay Leaves, which can cause confusion. It’s also known as, tejpat, tejapatta, Malabar leaf, Indian bark, Indian cassia, or malabathrum.

Culinary Use of Indian Bay Leaf

The dried leaves are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan (WIKI)

How to distinguish the European Bay Laurel and Indian Bay Leaf and leaves

Species: European Bay Laurel belongs to the species Laurus nobilis and Indian Bay Leaf belongs to the species Cinnamomum tamala.

Top large leaves are Indian bay leaves and Bottom small leaves are European bay leaves

The leaf size and veins:  European Bay Laurel leaves are shorter and light to medium green in colour with one primary vein running down the middle of the leaf and the Indian Bay Leaf has three primary veins running down the length of the leaf.

The Aroma: the Bay Laurel imparts a pine-lemon flavour and the Indian Bay leaf, a strong cassia-cinnamon like aroma.


Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

4 thoughts

    1. It’s just the Indian version of bay leaf. It’s sold here in my local store in the Asian corner in the international aisle. I was watching Masterchef Australia last night…..have a pleasant week!

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