Curry leaves (Kari putha or Neem) - are small grey-greenish leaves (a bit like bay), relative of the orange. They can be used fresh or dried. Their aroma is released by its heat and moisture. They are sometimes fried in the oil the food is cooked in, and then discarded. They are mainly used as an aromatic and flavoring for most curries and soups.
Curry Leaves– Names in different Indian Languages.
Hindi– Kari Patta , Bengal – karipatta, Gujrati – Mitho Limbo, Punjabi – Kadi patta
Tamil - Karivepillai, Urdu – Karhipata
The essential oils vary based on different varieties. The fresh leaf has about 0.5% to 2.5% essential oil, mostly monoterpenes. Curry leaf has a good amount of vitamin A with calcium,phosphorus,iron), vitamin C and fiber.
Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring contries. Often used in curries, the leaves generally go by the name "curry leaves", though they are also called "sweet neem leaves". It is usually fried along with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation. . It gives a more intense flavor and crunchiness when it is toasted in oil or ghee, and this mixture is then added to many vegetarian foods. Sometimes it is toasted, ground, or crushed to season or garnish soups, sambars, and curries.
It is an essential spice in South Indian, Sri Lankan, and Malaysian curries, dals, samosas, dosai fillings, chutneys, snacks, sambars, soups, breads, and vegetables. Kari leaf is popularly used in South Indian vegetarian and fish dishes and Sri Lankan meat and chicken curries. Kari leaves par well with mustard seeds, turmeric, ghee, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, dals, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and yogurt. It provides a certain zest to yogurt-based salad dressings and vegetable dishes, such as fried cabbage, lentils, beans, okra, or eggplant. Curry leaf also provides a distinct spicy flavor to cold dishes and buttermilk..
Curry leaf can be kept frozen or refrigerated in a plastic bag for about two weeks. Freezing better retains its flavor, but its color changes to black. To retain its fresh flavor, it is best not to remove the leaves from its branches until ready to use.
They are also available dried, though the aroma is largely inferior.
It is usually removed before the food is eaten.