Daun Kari / Curry Leaf

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Curry Tree or Karivepallai or Kadipatta (Tamil: கறிவேப்பிலை) (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India. It produces the leaves known as Curry leaves or Sweet Neem leaves.

t is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.
The species name commemorates the botanist Johann König.

The small and narrow leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree; therefore they are also referred to as Karuveppilai (translated to Black Neem leaf) in Tamil and Malayalam, Karu/Kari meaning black, ilai meaning leaves and veppilai meaning Neem leaf. In the Kannada language it is known as Kari BEvu and Karivepaku in Telugu, again translating to the same meaning Black Neem leaf.

Other names include Kari Patta (Hindi), which probably is a corrupt translation of Karuveppilai, noroxingha (Assamese), Bhursunga Patra (Oriya), Kadhi Patta (Marathi), Mithho Limdo (Gujarati) and Karapincha (Sinhalese).

The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time; however, this can result in a loss of their flavour. They are also available dried, though the aroma is much inferior.

The leaves of Murraya koenigii are also used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Their properties include much value as an antidiabetic,[2] antioxidant,[3] antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc.


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