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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Curry Leaves Origins Medical Uses And Recipe


CURRY LEAVES
Curry leaves come from a shrub or small tree, called the curry tree, or Indian Bay. The dried leaves look a lot like bay leaves, but have an entirely different aroma. I am told that they are easy to grow and keep on a window sill, as you can take a leaf with a stem as a cutting and put it in a pot, and it will grow. But as I have disasters with herbs, I’ll leave that to this site’s administrator who really does have green fingers. Fresh leaves can be frozen for later use, so growing your own is a good idea.
The word curry comes from the Tamil word kari, which is used as a term for a spicy sauce. The plant originated on the subcontinent and spread as the inhabitants took it on their travels with them. Now it happily grows in Australia, the Pacific islands, and Africa, where it is cultivated.
It is not a constituent of British curry powder, which the Brits have made as a quick way of making spicy sauces. This usually contains cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, roasted fenugreek seeds, cinnamon and cloves, and chillies, although the mixture varies from company to company. We do not use curry powder at all, as we prefer to mix our own spices to create the flavour we want for each dish.
In traditional medicine here on the subcontinent, it is used to relieve digestive problems, help skin conditions, and people suffering from diabetes. Recent research in the West has shown that it does indeed help sufferers of diabetes and currently there is hope that they will produce a breakthrough in treating this disease.
  In Pakistan curry leaves are used in a variety of herbal remedies. Oil is extracted from the fresh leaves by steam, but you can heat them over a flame to produce the oil too if you hold them in a pair of tongs.They contain collagen which has anti-aging properties, as it promotes new skin cell growth to make skin youthful looking and smooth out wrinkles. The hakims say that if you have a history of diabetes in the family, or if you have developed diabetes because of a weight problem, you should eat ten curry leaves every morning for 3 months as they provide some protection for those with a history of diabetes in the family, and can cure those who have developed it because of surplus pounds.Tender young leaves mixed with honey and eaten can help in cases of diarrhoea and piles. Another remedy is to grind the leaves to a powder and put in a glass of lhassi (a yoghurt and water drink) and drink it on an empty stomach; this will cure any stomach problem associated with the digestive system. Curry leaves can strengthen the whole digestive system and they say that this is the best recipe: 15 gr. fresh curry leaf juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice, with sugar according to taste, and drink every morning on an empty stomach. This can also stop nausea, vomiting or help if you have eaten a lot of fatty food and your stomach feels heavy.
Here it is usually used fresh, although it can be used dried and/or powdered. It is hardly ever used in meat dishes, only to flavour vegetable dishes. The leaves should be fried in oil to release their aroma. You can use them in any of our vegetable dishes and in biryanis. You can also use them in meat dishes; it’s just traditional here not to. If you have your own curry plant you will find the leaves useful for using as a garnish.
Check out our chicken biryani recipe. Alternatively, here’s a rice dish!
It has Taste and is a Treat.


QUICK BASMATI RICE WITH CURRY LEAVES
Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked for 10 mins
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp garam masala
5 or 6 curry leaves
250 gr peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 tbsps oil
2 or 3 red chillies


Method
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, curry leaves, chopped red chillies, cumin seeds and red chilli powder .Add the rice and coat in oil, by stirring it around the pan. Add about 1 and a half cups of water, the tomatoes and salt to taste, and cook for about 15 mins. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and serve, garnished with curry leaves.
                           This has Taste and is a Treat.

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