The curry tree is native to India. Its leaves are used extensively in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, especially in curries. Curry leaves are said to be good for those who are diabetic.
The leaves are rich in Calcium and Iron and are powerful antioxidants. “As the curry leaf contains a large amount of calcium, it helps build immunity for the whole body,” says Dr A Radhakrishna, practitioner at Venkataramana Ayurveda Hospital. “Curry leaves are very good for indigestion, and diarrhoea due to indigestion. “At the start of a meal, if you eat rice mixed with curry leaf powder, it helps greatly in digesting the following courses,” he says.
“The leaves also help hair growth and minimize hair fall. When you eat curry leaves not only is the hair root strengthened, premature greying is also prevented, and sometimes cured,” he says. The leaves are also used to treat mild burns. A paste made of curry leaves is applied on the affected area for quick relief. Apart from these advantages, curry leaves are also good for the kidney and the eyes.
So the next time you want to throw out a curry leaf from your plate, think twice. One tip for chefs: If curry leaves are seasoned to crispness while cooking root vegetables like the potato, even children will have no problem eating them.
Recipe of Curry Leaf Powder (makes 3/4 cup)
Ingredients: 3 cups of curry leaves tightly packed, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 red chilly and salt to taste.
Method: Wash the curry leaves and dry them. Next, dry roast them and keep aside. Dry roast the other ingredients except salt and grind together. Add the curry leaves and grind again. Add salt and mix well. This mixture has a very long shelf life. It is mixed with rice and ghee for a tasty rice dish. It can also be used to flavour tadka dhals or curries like the potato masala in masala dosai. For a spicy version, add more pepper and a few pods of dry-roasted garlic.