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Feb 4

Written by: Jayanthi
Monday, February 04, 2008

Also known as: 
Meetha neem, Kari patta, Katneem, Bursunga (Hindi), Kariveppila, Kariveppu (Malayalam), Kariveppilai, Karuveppilai (Tamil). 

Why write about Curry Leaves?   
Curry leaves are a mainstay spice/herb used in Indian cooking- and our home cooking on almost a daily basis. Generally we temper curry leaves in hot oil with mustard seeds, red chilies, green chilies and few other seeded spices (cumin, ajwain, etc.) and/or dhals, adding this mixture, known as tadka, to a variety of dishes. Generally people remove curry leaves from the dish before eating, but eating them brings no harm.

Also, some not familiar with curry leaves may think ‘curry powder’ is made out of curry leaves. This is not true. Curry powder is not really used in India in that sense. People do make plenty of spice mixtures such as sambar powder, rasam powder, dhal powders for dosa, etc., but these spice mixes do not contain curry leaves. Curry leaves are best used fresh and tempered in oil or ghee to increase aroma. There may be some scientific reasoning behind this, but I do not know about that.

Parts of the plant used:
Leaves. Leaves should not be removed until the leaves are to be used, else they go bad.

Ayurvedic Use as quoted from An Encounter with Ayurvedic Aromatherapy by Farida Irani. (source here)

-I am providing this information for your reference only.  I am not a physician or ayurvedic doctor.  Consult your doctor or ayurvedic practitioner for indications based on your particular health concerns and/or dosha imbalances.-

Pacifies Vata, aggravates Pitta

Used for: body tonic, stomach problems, digestion, reduce blood sugar, laxative, helps with grey hair, maintain hairs pigments

"Curry leaves are eaten raw for the cure of dysentery. When boiled in milk and ground, they form a good application to poison bites and to skin eruptions. Decoction of leaves is given with bitters as a febrifuge in fevers. Leaves are popularly used for flavouring curries and condiments."

I have used curry leaves to benefit my health:
I have not yet seeked out or been prescribed the use of curry leaves by an ayurvedic doctor for any ailment. However, after noting the benefits of curry leaves, I can understand why they are used in the spicy Indian dishes. 

I have used curry leaves in cooking:
I use curry leaves in making many Indian dishes. I have made ‘tadka’ as above for dhal, sambar, rasam and vegetable based Indian dishes. Some recipes from shakahaari.com. 

References: An Encounter with Ayurvedic Aromatherapy  |  Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages – Curry Leaves 

How have you benefited from using curry leaves?  Share below.

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Copyright ©2008 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar

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