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Dau kari / Daun salam Koja = Curry Leaf

Dau kari / Daun salam Koja = Curry Leaf

The curry tree (Murraya koenigii or Bergera koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae (the rue family, which includes rue, citrus, and satinwood), which is native to India and Sri Lanka.

Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries. Often used in curries, the leaves are generally called by the name 'curry leaves,' although they are also literally 'sweet neem leaves' in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are very bitter and in the family Meliaceae, not Rutaceae).

Curry leaves, are, however, an important ingredient in many curry dishes, especially in India, Thailand, and other Asian countries.

It is a small tree, growing 4–6 m (13–20 feet) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm (16 in) diameter. The aromatic leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) broad. The plant produces small white flowers which can self-pollinate to produce small shiny-black berries containing a single, large viable seed. Though the berry pulp is edible -- with a sweet but medicinal flavor -- in general, neither the pulp nor seed are used for culinary purposes.

The species name commemorates the botanist Johann König.

In the kitchen, use the leaves for a warm, appetising aroma and a subtle, spicy flavour with meat, seafood or vegetable curries, chutneys, pickles, coconut sauces, relishes, omelettes, marinades and vegetarian cuisine. The method of using the leaves (preferably fresh ones) in stir-fries and curries, is to heat some oil, butter or ghee in a pan, add the curry leaves along with a little ginger and garlic and sauté until brown. The flavour of the curry leaf is enhanced when fried. Fresh curry leaves will keep for a week if kept in a dry plastic bag in the fridge.
Curry powder does not come from the curry tree, as some people often think. Curry powder is usually a combination of many ingredients including ginger, chilli, black pepper, cumin, coriander, garlic, fenugreek, and turmeric to give the yellow colour. The proportion of each ingredient in the curry powder will depend on the tradition and origin of each particular recipe. However, crushed leaves from the curry tree are used as an ingredient in some Madras curry powders. The dried leaves add a spicy note to pot-pourri. Do not confuse the curry tree with the Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum syn. H. angustifolium) (p 88) which belongs to the Asteraceae family. The curry plant is a perennial bush to 50cm with fine, silvery grey stems and leaves. A grey down covers the 4cm long narrow leaves and when rubbed they smell strongly of curry. Yellow button-like flowers form as terminal clusters. Propagation of the curry plant is by seeds, cuttings and root division. Grow in a well-drained area. Trim bushes regularly to keep them in good shape. Use the trimmings in pot-pourri. The dried flowers keep their colour for a long time. Add chopped young tender leaves to salads, cooked meat and savoury dishes.

Some of the primary alkaloids found in the Curry Tree leaves, stems, and seeds are as follows: Mahanimbine, girinimbine, koenimbine, isomahanine, mahanine, Indicolactone, 2-methoxy-3-methyl-carbazole.[5]

A 2011 study of girinimbine, a carbazole alkaloid isolated from this plant, found that it inhibited the growth and induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma, HepG2 cells in vitro.[6]


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