Curry leaves is one of the fantastic aromatic herb used in many of dishes in Indian cuisine. Curry leaves known as Murraya koenigii is a tropical to sub tropical tree in the Rutaceae family which is a native to India.
Curry leaves are called by different name in India like kariveppilai (in Tamil), kariveppaku (in Telugu) and karipatta in Hindi. The name kariveppilai itself says the kari means curry, veppu means neem and ilai means leaf. Hence the literal translation of curry leaves of the Tamil name means “leaf that is used to make curry”. These leaves are almost used or added in almost all dishes to give a nice aroma to the dish.
The curry leaves tree is a small tree about 4 to 6 m tall with a trunk up to 40cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate with 11 to 21 leaflets and each leaflet about 2-4 cm long and 1-2cm broad. These leaves are highly aromatic and have a nice fragrance. The curry leaves are highly valued as seasoning in southern and west coast Indian cooking and Sri Lankan cooking especially in curries and fried dishes. They are also used in making of rice, thoran, vada, rasam and kadhi. The aromatic leaves add spice to the dishes.
The leaves of Murraya koenigii are also used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Their properties include much value as an anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc. Curry leaves or karipatta are also known to be good for hair for keeping it healthy and long. They also contain iron.
These leaves are extensively used in Southeast Asian cooking, adding a very distinct flavor and aroma to an assortment of dishes. Traditionally, curry leaves are fried in oil in the cooking pan before any other ingredients are added. As they are fried, the leaves start to release volatile aromas and flavors which will infuse the dish cooked in the pan. The leaves are left in the pan throughout the cooking process, and they can be eaten or set aside during diners. The leaves of the curry tree are normally used fresh or even dried. The Curry Leaves possess soft surface, but these are generally removed prior to serving. The curry leaves are also dried, powdered and stored. This can also be used in many dishes to enhance the taste and flavor.
The history of curry leaves dates back to the ancient period. The curry leaves are exported to different parts of the world from India. It is basically used as a spice and is an aromatic deciduous tree which is 5 meters tall and fifteen to forty centimeters in diameter. This tree is mainly cultivated in homesteads, largely on a scale of plantation. Curry powder made after grinding curry leaves, is invented by the British in order to imitate the Indian cooking flavor with little effort. From the name, one might imagine that curry leaves smell and taste like curry powder. In fact, curry leaves are not related to curry powder at all, although both come from the same root, kari, which in Tamil means a stew of vegetables cooked in a rich sauce. While curry leaves can certainly be used in curries and even with curry powder, they can also be used on their own in a variety of soups, stews, chutneys, breakfast dishes like upma, dhokla etc and so forth.
In some parts of Southeast Asia, curry leaves are chewed, because they are believed to be beneficial to digestion, and especially good for preventing diarrhea. You can also see curry leaves in some traditional herbal preparations, especially for the skin, as curry leaves are supposed to promote clear, healthy skin.
Curry leaves are a good source of vitamin A and they provide a rich source of calcium. They are primarily used in providing a flavor in Indian cooking especially in the south Indian cooking while preparing the sambar or rasam. These leaves have several herbal remedial qualities and are mainly derived from an aromatic and deciduous shrub. Curry leaves are highly aromatic. Curry leaves strengthens stomach functioning. In southern part of the country, curry leaves are mainly used in as it provide a fine flavor to the curries, vegetable, pickles, chutneys, soups as well as butter milk preparations.
Curry leaves have been used for centuries almost in all the parts of country. This herb has several medicinal properties. For instance, its leaves and bark can be used as a tonic, stomachic, stimulant and carminative. It can help in reducing blood sugar if these leaves are consumed early in the morning in empty stomach. Roasted leaves are effective to stop vomiting. Moreover, the juice of this plant can provide a relief from kidney pain. The wood of the Curry plant is grayish white, even, hard, close grained and durable. It is also used as timber for manufacturing different types of products.
The nutritional values of 100g of curry leaves are:
Vitamin C: 4MG