Curry Leaves – Benefits, Nutrition, and Recipes
August 10, 2022
August 10, 2022
Curry leaves, an inevitable part of spicing up dishes, are not a part of mere garnishing. They are rich in medicinal, nutraceutical properties and even have cosmetic uses. Curry leaves and their distinct taste are well-known to Indians.
Originated in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and later spread by Indian migrants, they are now grown across the globe. Like mustard seeds or turmeric, these leaves find their use daily in West and South Indian cuisines. Hence, curry leaves are an integral part of the food culture in the country.
Many Indian names for curry leaves translate to ‘sweet neem’ with a resemblance to neem leaves. Some of them are Kadi Patta or Meetha Neem in Hindi, Kariveppilai in Tamil and Karivempu in Malayalam.
They can elevate the flavour of simple curries and vegetables by the mere addition of tempering. While the aroma is enticing, the taste of these leaves is mildly bitter, flavourful, and edgy.
Apart from its culinary use, curry leaves hold a special place in Ayurvedic recipes and medicines.
Curry powder is not the same as curry leaves. While the leaves have a distinct flavour that is unmatched by any other plant or spice.
The powder is a spice mix, while the curry leaf is a herb. Curry powder is a broad term that represents Indian cooking principles and the result is a spice mix. Curry powder comprises a variety of spices, like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, etc.
This herb is used in various forms in Indian cuisine. These leaves give flavor, aroma, and unique taste to the food.
Sauté the leaves in ghee, vegetable oil, or coconut oil to bring out their distinctive flavour.
Tempering/tadkaa is the term for this cooking procedure. Curry leaves infuse the oil with its fragrance when used in tadkaa and enhance the taste of Indian staples like dal, sabzi, sambhar, curd rice, chutney, etc.
Both fresh and dried leaves can be used for tempering purposes. For tadkaa, toss them with additional spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, and green chillies in hot oil or ghee, and your simple meal will get a facelift.
You can directly add curry leaves to your dish to garnish it. You can even use dried leaves for garnishing. The dried version has a faint aroma. It takes longer to infuse flavour into the dish.
Curry leaves are used in making curries, soups, rice dishes, and lentils, both as tadkaa and garnish. When making chutney, include these aromatic leaves. They go very well with coconut, coriander, and mint.
Curry leaves are easily available with every local vegetable vendor.
In certain parts of India, where the plants grow abundantly, the vendors do not even charge you if you want a handful. You can even plant your curry leaf plant at home for fresh leaves every time.
Curry leaves are aromatic when they are fresh. They lose a lot of their flavor when they are dried. The best way to preserve them is to freeze them.
Choose leaves that are dark green and not brown. Fresh leaves can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. The color of frozen leaves may change to a darker green, but it will not affect the taste.
Increased cholesterol levels raise the risk of heart diseases. Curry leaves are also good for lowering cholesterol.
They are high in antioxidants. They keep us healthy by flushing out all the harmful toxins from our bodies.
Curry leaves prevent bacteria from growing inside our mouths. They help to maintain oral hygiene by keeping our gums and teeth strong. Chew 2-3 leaves daily to improve oral health.
This aromatic herb is high in vitamin A, which is essential for good eyesight. It also prevents the formation of cataracts in the eye.
Wounds, rashes, boils, and light burns can be cured by applying curry leaf paste. They also aid in the prevention of harmful infections.
They are loaded with iron and folic acid, which helps maintain the body’s red blood cell count.
Curry leaves act as detoxifying agents and cleanses our body. Detoxification is one of the most effective ways to get rid of accumulated body fat.
This herb is quite good at lowering blood glucose levels. Copper, iron, and zinc are minerals that help to keep glucose levels in check.
These fragrant leaves are anti-bacterial and help to fight various infections in the body.
Its antioxidant properties are extremely efficient. When paired with vitamin A and C, it performs more efficiently.
Curry leaves can help pregnant women to get relief during the first trimester by reducing nausea and morning sickness.
The calming aroma of this herb and the essential oils help to soothe your tired nerves, thereby reducing overall stress.
Curry leaf oil is used in cooking, as well as in medicine and cosmetics.
This juice is amazing to boost your immunity. Simple to make, this juice can improve your health significantly.
Curry leaves are widely used in South India to make chutneys. This chutney recipe goes perfectly with idli, dosa, and even roti. Refrigerate this chutney to use for up to 2 weeks.
In India’s western, southern and central parts, almost every other house has a curry leaf plant, yet the herb is so underrated. These leaves are flavourful and highly nutritious. They have plenty of health benefits as well. They might taste bitter initially, but once you develop a taste for them, you will love them.
Add curry leaves to your meals for that extra punch. They go perfectly well with Indian meals as tempering. You can even try them with your snacks.
Next time, while making popcorn, add a few of these leaves to your oil or ghee for a new and refreshing flavour. When roasting vegetables, toss in a few curry leaves. The fresh fragrances of these aromatic leaves will make your jaw drop.
A. Yes. Curry leaves are high in vitamin A, essential for good eyesight. It also prevents the formation of cataracts in the eye.
A. Yes. Every day one can add 10-15 leaves to extract curry leaf juice or even add some leaves to your food .
A. No. Not at all. It can grow in any season. But, it requires a medium pot, adequate sunlight, and moderate watering. So, it is a must-have in your kitchen garden.
A. One should water it once a week in winters and rainy days. When the soil dries out, i.e. in summers, it requires more water. So 2-3 days a week in summer should be adequate. Over-watering curry leaf plants may kill the plants fast, so check the soil every time. Allow soil to dry out completely between watering.
A. There are three types of curry leaf trees.
A. Eating curry leaves every day has many health and beauty benefits like weight loss, reduced bad cholesterol, improved eyesight, reduced stress and many more.
A. Eating up to 15 curry leaves a day has no side effects. However, excess consumption of the leaves can cause digestive issues like a burning sensation. In addition, people with asthma or pollen allergies should avoid using curry leaves.
A. Yes. Curry leaves are known to have significant health benefits. For example, curry leaves juice can help get relief from kidney pain.
A. Yes. Curry Leaves are a rich source of proteins, which can reduce hair loss and increase hair growth.
A. Curry leaves act as detoxifying agents and cleanse our bodies. Detoxification is one of the most effective ways to get rid of accumulated body fat.
A. Yes. Curry leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the leaves act as hepatoprotective agents and protect liver cells.
A. Curry leaves have anti-diabetic properties. People with diabetes can use curry leaves by incorporating them into a simple recipe.