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Indian Curry Leaf

Contact Author J. Verghese
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A member of the natural order of Rutaceae, Murraya Koeniglii (Linn) Spreng, the "Indian curry tree" is a pretty, small shrub or tree up to 6 m in height and 15 to 40 cm in diameter. It occurs along the outer Himalayas, from the Ravi eastwards ascending to 1500-1655 m, in Assam, Chittagong, upper and lower Burma and Andaman islands. It also is found in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and abundantly in the high forests of Western Ghats in Karnataka. Propagation is by seeds which germinate freely under partial shade; rich soil is preferred.

Small, glossy and green in color, with its tip usually notched, the curry leaf is lanceolate m somewhat rhomboid, irregularly crenatedentate, acuminate, obtuse or acute, base usually oblique, almost glabrous above, pubescent beneath, gland-dotted. The leaf is fragrant, strongly aromatic, spicy, and bitter, acrid, cooling, alexeteric, anthelmintic and analgesic.

Heath describes the sensory character of curry leaf as “distinctly curry-like, spicy.” The flavour enhancing qualities of this spice harmonize with South Indian cooking--specially suited to curries, vegetable, fish and meat dishes, soups (rasams), pickles, butter milk preparations, chutieys, scrambled eggs, uppuma, mixtures, curry powder blends, etc.

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