Curries without curry leaves is tantamount to pickles without salt. People living away from India always complain that the curries they prepare lack the authentic taste because fresh curry leaves are inaccessible in their adopted countries.
Murraya koenigii is the botanical name given to the Curry-leaf tree commemorating the botanist Johann Gerhard Koenig. This tree is native to India, Srilanka and Bangladesh. The trees spread to Malaysia, South Africa and Reunion Island with South Asian immigrants. It is popularly known as ‘karibevu’ in Kannada, ‘kariveppilai’ in Tamil and Malayalam, ‘karivepaku’ in Telugu, ‘kari patta’ in Hindi, ‘limda’ in Gujarati and ‘karapincha’ in Sinhalese, ‘daun kari’ in Malaysia. The most common sounding word in the names is kari means black. Since it belongs to the Neem family, its name ‘karibevu’ in Kannada means ‘black neem’. The word ‘curry’ originates from the Tamil word ‘kari’ meaning spiced sauces.