Curry leaves, also called sweet neem leaves or Murraya koenigii leaves, are used a lot in Indian cooking and medicine. They are small green leaves that have their own taste and smell. In South Indian dishes like sambhar, rasam, chutney, etc., they are often used as a seasoning.
What are Curry Leaves?
The curry tree's leaves are called curry leaves (Murraya koenigii). This tree grows in India, and its leaves can be used for both medicine and food. They smell strong and have a unique taste with citrus notes.
Curry leaves are not exactly the same as curry powder, but they are often used to add flavour to dishes like curries, rice dishes, and dals by adding them to curry powder.
Aside from being a versatile herb for cooking, they are also good for your health because they contain powerful plant compounds.
Other names of Curry Leaves:
Curry leaves look a lot like neem leaves, which is why many Indian refer them as "sweet neem." Curry leaves are also known as Kadi Patta in Hindi, Meetha Neem in Tamil, and Karivempu in Malayalam.
Are curry Leaves and Curry Powder the same?
Curry leaves are different from curry powder. While the leaves have a unique taste that no other plant or spice can match.
The curry leaf is a herb, and the powder is a mix of spices. Curry powder is a general term for the way Indian food is made, which is a mix of spices. Curry powder has many different spices in it, such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, etc.
Use of Curry Leaves in cooking:
- Tadka or Tempering
To bring out the leaves' unique flavour, sauté them in ghee, vegetable oil, or coconut oil.
This step of cooking is called "tadkaa" or "seasoning." When curry leaves are used in tadka, they add their smell to the oil and make Indian foods like dal, sabzi, sambhar, curd rice, chutney, etc. taste better.
You can use both fresh and dried leaves to season food. For tadkaa, add more spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, and green chilies to them and toss them in hot oil or ghee. This will give your simple meal a new look.
- Add it as garnish
You can decorate your dish by putting curry leaves right on top of it. You can even decorate with dried leaves. The dried version doesn't smell very strong. It takes longer to make the dish taste good.
Curry leaves are used both as a spice and as a topping for curries, soups, rice, and lentils. Add these fragrant leaves to chutney when you make it. Coconut, coriander, and mint go well with them.
Health benefits of Curry Leaves:
- High in fibre: Curry leaves are a great way to get fibre. It helps us have regular bowel movements and better digestive health. It helps with diarrhoea and nausea, and it also keeps the blood sugar level in the body in check.
- Full of Proteins: Curry leaves have a lot of proteins, which are thought to be the body's building blocks. It is a key part of how the body grows and develops, and it helps keep our immune systems strong.
- Packed with calcium: Calcium is important for bone health, so most people know that calcium is a powerhouse. Curry leaves are full of calcium and can help strengthen teeth and bones and protect against diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
- Full of phosphorus: Phosphorus is one of the main nutrients in curry leaves, and it helps keep the kidneys clean. It keeps the heartbeat steady, stops painful muscle spasms after exercise, and makes the teeth and bones stronger. Phosphorus is used at the level of the cell to help cells and tissues grow and heal.
- Lots of Essential Oils: Curry leaves are full of volatile essential oils like -pinene, sabinene, -pinene, -terpinene, etc., as well as minerals and vitamins. The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-dysentery, carminative, and digestive properties of these essential oils are very good for the health of the hair, skin, and mouth. It also helps with digestion and is good for treating high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
Curry Leaves for weight loss:
Even though it may sound strange, curry leaves can help you lose weight. Carbazole alkaloids help keep the body from gaining weight and keep cholesterol levels in check. So, curry leaves can be eaten to help you lose weight. You can eat dried curry leaves or put fresh or dried curry leaves in your food to eat more of them. You can also add to your salad. Curry leaves, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, can help you lose weight faster.