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.
Curry leaves are popularly used in South Indian cuisine. You can find them in vegetables, rasam, sambar, curries and even in salads! The fragrance and flavor of the leaves are unmistakable. It is either added to the dish in the beginning and boiled or added to the seasoning poured over the prepared dish and mixed. The stems are also crushed and added to boiling dals and rasam, but they are removed just before serving. It is added to yoghurt to churn out a spicy masala yoghurt best enjoyed in summer. It helps to cool down the body. Curry leaves are best used fresh.
Consuming curry leaves aids in digestion. Now, research has shown that it is very effective to treat diabetes. An enzyme called pancreatic alpha-amylase enzyme present in the digestive system helps to breakdown the starch that we eat in our diet to a simple sugar, glucose. Curry leaves contains special compounds that inhibit this enzyme. This means that the rate at which starch is broken down by the enzyme can be slowed.
Curry leaves are used to make coconut chutney, chutney powder, rasam powders, masala lassi(yoghurt) and kadhi. Enjoy the dishes and the distinctive fragrance of these leaves.
Recipes with Curry leaves as the main ingredient:
Curry leaves Chutney Powder