Curry leaves tree Curry Leaf Plantation Curry Leaves
The Curry Tree or Sweet Neem is a tropical plant which is native to India and Yarlpanam. Its leaves are highly aromatic and are used as an herb. Their form is small and narrow and they resemble the leaves of the Neem tree. They are commonly used as seasoning in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time. They are also available dried, though the aroma is inferior.
The curry leaf is used so much in South Indian cooking and as a herb in indigenous medicine, it is now cultivated in large farms in India. Such a farm is seen around Meddupalayam in Tamil Nadu in India and such a plant is shown in the middle picture above. These plants are short and usually grows to about two to three feet in height and easy to harvest.
The subtle flavouring of this highly aromatic spice fills Indian and Yarlpanam cuisines. Curry leaves are added to food to enhance flavour. They are generally shallow fried with mustard seeds and chopped onion, and poured over the dishes as a garnish mostly in curry dishes, Special chutneys and sambol are made with roasted curry leaves to stimulate appetite.
The leaves, bark and the root of the plant are used in indigenous medicine as a tonic, stimulant and carminative. They are also used to cure eruptions and the bites of poisonous animals. Curry leaf is used in South Asian traditional medicine to treat the digestive system, skin conditions and diabetes. Its anti-diabetic properties are supported by scientific research.