Productive Plant – Curry Leaf
by Debbie Bassingthwaighte
Botanical Name: Murraya koenigii
Common Names: Curry Leaf, Karapincha, Kari Patta, Sweet Neem, Meetha Neem, Kitha Neem
Description: Curry Leaf is a small evergreen tree that grows to 6 metres in height. It has aromatic, compound leaves and clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers followed by 1 cm berries that turn dark purple-black when ripe. The berries don’t have a culinary use and the seeds are toxic to humans so shouldn’t be consumed. However, its dense canopy produces an abundance of aromatic, pungent, fern-like leaves that are used to flavour curry dishes and also used medicinally.
Culinary Uses: Curry Leaf has been used medicinally and in cooking in India and Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. The leaves have the strongest flavour and aroma when used fresh in curries, vegetable dishes, soups, chutneys, pickles and sauces. The fresh leaves can also be used on the BBQ to add a warm, aromatic flavour to fish, meat and potatoes. Pile a large handful of leaves onto the BBQ plate and place the fish or meat on top to cook covered with a deep lid.