Fresh or dried bay leaves are aromatic and used in cooking for their fragrance and distinctive flavor. They have a pungent, sharp and bitter taste when eaten whole. Commonly used whole and taken out before serving. They can also be crushed to impart more fragrance than whole leaves. These leaves are often used in biryani and salans in Indian cuisine. Use them in a variety of dishes such as stews, soups, meat, vegetable and seafood.