Curry leaf is a leafy herb used in Indian cuisine for its distinct flavor. Curry leaves grow on aromatic and more or less deciduous shrub Murraya koenigii, which is native to southern Asia. They smell Fresh and pleasant, remotely reminiscent of citrus fruits. The leaves are extensively used for their fragrance in the cooking of Southern India and Sri Lanka (and are absolutely necessary for the authentic flavor). They are also of some importance in the cuisine of Northern India. Together with South Indian immigrants, curry leaves reached Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa.
Curry leaves are often available in Indian markets. Choose fresh shiny leaves that show no signs of yellowing or wilting. Dried curry leaves are also available but have a much less intense flavor. Curry leaves should not be removed from the branches until needed. They can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. They may also be frozen. Since they lose their delicate fragrance when dried, try to obtain them fresh.
The leaves, root and stem of the plant contain minerals and essential oils of immense medicinal value. In India, the curry leaf is used to prevent nausea and to cure stomach upsets. It is also used in treating skin irritations and poisonous bites. Curry leaf is used in folk medicine in China and other Asian countries.