What is the difference between curry and curry leaves ? Are they one of the same spice ?
These two spices are not the same at all ! This little article will help you to understand the differences between these spices.
Curry leaves are the shiny, dark green, feather-like, aromatic leaves of a tropical tree which is native to south-India and Sri lanka. Expect this sphere of influence, the spice is rare !
The curry leaves have several designations : curry patha (in Hindi), Kaloupilé (Reunion), feuilles de cari ou curry (France). This plant is a staple element for an authentic and original indian cooking. It has a very perfumed flavour, with a lemony taste. Its leaves are used in many stews such as curry, masala, sambar, chutney...
We find these leaves in many mixtures of spices like curry or curcuma as well.
As for the curry, it's a mix of several spices.The mixture ended up to take the name of "curry" because of a regular use of curry leaves. In India, most commonly we call it « Masala » wich means « mixture ». As a matter of fact, there are as much mixtures that areas (or family) in India. The blend depends of the available spices, its cost and the dish to prepare. Here are some examples :
The « Basic Madras» curry : The curry is often composed with curcuma (20%-30%) associated with : coriander, curry leaves, cumin, cardamom, and some peppercorns. The yellow color of the curry powder is brought by saffron or curcuma.
Biriyani Masala : It's a blend used to perfume the Biriyani, a rice dish aof vegetables and/or meat. It countains always cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Le Garam masala : Is a mixture which takes its origins in North India. It means « burning spices ». It contains strong spices such as black pepper but also sweet spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. We can even add different spices such as cumin, fennel, cardamom or coriander.
Fishes and sea food Masala or "kozhambu masala": To season fish and sea food, South Indian people use a specific masala which is composed of coriander, black pepper, ginger, chilli, mustard seed, curcuma and curry leaves.,
As you canssee, there are so many masalas. You can find which suits you the best!
How to add curry leaves in your favorite dishes ?
First of all, curry leaves are used to flavor dishes.
1/ Like in India, you can use this plant in any gravy, in infusion, such as we can do in France with bay leaves! A few leaves are enough to flavor a sauce or a dish. Simply add the whole or crushed leaves during the cooking or just 15 min before the end.
2/ Usually, you can also fry or roast the leaves in oil with chopped onion. You can use this preparation as a staple food for many popular dishes. It accentuates the diffusion of aromas throughout the dish.
3/ Curry leaf are great to season also your vegetables, your roasted meat and fish, etc. You can put the whole leaf or crushed, roast it directly or to crumble it on your meat.
4/ Otherwise, the curry leaf would be a wonder in your marinade.
5/ Moreover you can put some leaves in your cooking water for rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.This spice with a purée of potatoes or sweet potatos makes wonders!
Preservation method :
To preserve curry leaves as long as possible you can frozen or dry it. However its flavour will be less tasty.
Which benefits have the curry leaves ?
In addition to its tculinary properties, curry leaf has a number of important medicinal virtues :
This plant is rich in nutrients and organic chemical compounds that are beneficial for our well-being, our balance and our health.
In ayurvedic medicine, we use the leaves, the bark, or the roots of the plant. All are present in indian materia medica. We can eat the plant or used it on cutaneous application
Curry leaves are ideal for a good digestion and fortify the stomach.
In traditional western medicine, this spice is prescribed to reduce blood pressure and treat stomach issues (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation) and liver pains. Fresh leaves could also help to cure of the dysentery.We can use it also to cure outbreak and venomous bites. Some studies have noticed that curry leaves would be a remedy against the diabetes. It could help to reduce the blood glucose level.
Beauty tip :
As well as these health benefits, this plant is really good for your hair. It promotes hair growth by making them brighter and stronger. It helps also to delay the appearance of gray hair and helps fight hair fall.
What you need to do ? The best way is to include curry leaves in your diet. Moreover you can put some leaves in your coconut oil potion for your hair
Here is a tonic recipe :
- Pour the coconut oil into a pan and add the curry leaves to it.
- Heat the oil until you see a black residue forming around the leaves.
- Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down.
- Once the tonic is cool, strain it. You can now apply it to your hair.
- Gently massage (15-20min) your scalp with your fingertips while applying the oil. Concentrate most on the roots and tips of your hair.
- Leave it minimum for an hour (if it's possible you can keep it all night long) and then rinse it with shampoo.
This tonic will stimulate hair growth while preventing gray hair.
As you can see, curry leaves have lots of health properties. It would be a pity not to add it to your diet and your beauty routine !