Murraya koenigii or Curry-leaf tree, a native of India and Sri Lanka, is a small tree with very pungent aromatic leaves. The leaves are used in curries. The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in southern and west-coast Indian cooking, and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves, and especially in curries, usually fried along with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation. They are also used to make thoran, vada, rasam and kadhi. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life, and they don’t keep well in the refrigerator. They are also available dried, though the aroma is largely inferior.
The leaves of Murraya koenigii are also used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Their properties include much value as an anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc. Curry leaves are also known to be good for hair, for keeping it healthy and long.
Although most commonly used in curries, leaves from the curry tree can be used in many other dishes to add spice.