Fresh fragrant bright green colored leaflets of the Curryleaf tree, belonging to the citrus family, are extensively used in Indian cuisine in curries and chutneys preparations as the seasoning and flavoring. Curry leaves are called as Kariyapaak in Urdu language and Karipatta in Hindi. These edible leaves have a fresh, spicy and tangerine-like aroma and taste due to the abundant essential oils present in it.
A sprig of the Curryleaf plant
Having a fresh constant supply of curryleaf whenever you need a few leaves, is best for its flavor and appearance to do justice to your food. Both freezing or drying the fresh leaves for longer life compromises on its appearance and flavor, but nonetheless practiced to store the leaves for later use.
Fortunately, Indian stores here in Toronto sell fresh Curryleaf sprigs and I store a few fresh sprigs in a loose plastic packet with a few holes in the refrigerator, and use whenever required. This way they eventually dry out and can be stored as such for a long time. You could even spread some fresh leaves on trays in the sun to dry out and later store in air tight moisture free canisters/containers in the refrigerator. You can also pluck the fresh leaves from the springs and freeze them in small ziplock plactic bags. All these methods can extend the life of the leaves for up to 2 or 3 weeks. However use them up as soon as possible and I only recommend using fresh leaves for the best flavor and aroma.
This plant is quite commonly seen in most houses in India and can be propagated by root division, cuttings and from seeds.
Before you leave, have a look at the gigantic Curryleaf tree at Nupur’s parents house in India.