Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Curry Leaves (Karivepaaku, Kari Patta)

Curry Leaves (Karivepaaku)

Curry leaves in Indian languages:
Assamese – no-ro-hxingo paat
Bengali – Barsunga
Gujarati – Mitho limdo,
Hindi – Meetha neem, Kari patta, Katneem, Bursunga
Malayalam – Kareapela
Marathi – Kadipatta
Oriya – Basango
Punjabi – Karipata, Karipatta, Bowala
Sanskrit – Girinimba, Suravi
Tamil – Kariveppilai, Karuveppilai
Telugu – Karepaku, Karivepaaku

For this week’s Indian Kitchen, it is “curry leaves”. This aromatic fresh herb is native to India and is an essential ingredient in popu or tadka. The leaves when lightly fried in oil or ghee, release wonderful fragrance and when mixed with rice or with dals, enriches them by their unique appetizing aroma and essential oils.

The curry leaves are in light green color when young and are usually added as whole to the cooking. The mature leaves are dark in green, and are usually teared into two or three pieces or finely chopped before adding to hot oil. For each recipe, the number of leaves I usually add varies from 4 to 10. Some recipes I blogged so far, where curry leaves are a must – 1.Coconut chutney 2. Chitrannam (lemon rice) 3. Sambhar, just to name a few.

If you live in a warm climate, it’s really easy to grow this small deciduous plant. Plant a mature fresh sprig branch or small seedling/offshoots in mineral rich soil, water it daily and watch it flourish into a fragrant, pretty neat plant. It needs sunshine and lots of it.

You can find packets of fresh curry leaves either in fresh vegetable section, or in refrigerated area of your local Indian grocery shop. Usually priced at one dollar a packet, even less during summer times. If you ask me, they are the best bargain, or the most over priced item:) one can buy in US. Fresh leaves stay fresh at least for two to three weeks, when stored in refrigerator, sealed in a plastic bag. When left opened, they dry out easily. Dried leaves can be used in cooking, but the flavor of fresh curry leaves is superior and irreplaceable!

More about curry leaves:
Curry Leaf Heaven
The Goodness of Curry leaves!
Curry Leaves, different names – Source

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf) (Sunday March 12, 2006 at 3:58 pm- permalink)
Comments (32)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

32 comments for Curry Leaves (Karivepaaku, Kari Patta) »

  1. Wow, your posts are so comprehensive and lovely. Maybe you could do a series on all the Indian spices and vegetables!

    Comment by Sandhya — March 12, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

  2. Thank you Sandhya!
    Indian Kitchen and the categories below it are my attempt to mainly photograph some of the essential Indian ingredients.

    Comment by Indira — March 12, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

  3. Man!!!How did u manage to get all these names..That’s really cool!!!I love curry leaves in chutneys and sambhars..They give such a fresh aroma ..wooh!!

    Comment by BDSN — March 12, 2006 @ 4:41 pm

  4. Indira: Astonishing picture:) and cool information on the curry leaves!

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — March 12, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

  5. Indira,

    It is also called ‘Kadipatta’ (in addition to ‘Kadilimba’) in Marathi.

    Comment by Sonali — March 12, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  6. Lovely picture and lots of info! Have you tried planting a sprig and had it grow into a plant? I was told that you need to plant a seed (from a mature plant that has fruited), and that this plant cannot grow from sprigs.

    Comment by Nupur — March 12, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

  7. Also, known as “no-ro-hxingo paat” in Assamese: it’s the closest phonetic spelling I can think of right now! An Assamese herbal remedy to help women to recover quickly after child birth is to prepare a soup of blended curry leaves, pepper corns and garlic.

    Comment by ritu — March 12, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  8. BDSN… Did some googling. I found out lot of info about curry leaves. I was surprised to learn that they are not only aromatic, they are anti diabetic too. I was not aware of that information before.

    KK… thanks!

    Sonali… I’m going to add it to my post. Thanks for the info.

    Nupur… Thanks for the pointing out my mistake. I’ve corrected it.
    I’ve planted a mature branch, when we were living in Houston. It took time to root(about 2 months), but after that, it rapidly flourished into potfull of plant. I haven’t had a chance to grow the plant here in Ohio. Mainly because we have been visiting India during summer for the last few years. Usually back in India they are grown from either offshoots or seedlings that come from the roots of the plant. Normally growing from seeds is almost impossible. But I won’t be surprised if it’s become possible to grow it from seeds (thanks to recent commerial interest/horticulture research).

    Ritu.. how did I miss Assamese name? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for taking time and sharing the beautiful Assamese name of curry leaves with us. I’m going to add it to my list. Thankyou!

    Comment by Indira — March 12, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  9. Indira, kadulimba is different from kadipatta leaves. Kadulimba is the same as neem and you generally will not find it in the Indian grocery store. Kadipatta is curry leaves and is an integral part of most phodnis/tarka/baghars.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Manisha, I removed it from my list.

    Comment by Manisha — March 12, 2006 @ 10:13 pm

  10. I love the smell of curry leaves, in dal or curry or even in the refrigerator! I like how the smell gets on my fingers after I have worked with them–it makes me think of how good dinner will taste or did taste.

    I also think that they are very pretty to look at.

    Comment by Barbara — March 12, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

  11. Indira:

    Good post. I love all herbs and curry leaves, all the more. I tend to put them in everything I make :). I chop mine and that seems to add more flavour than adding the whole leaves. That may just be my “feeling”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Luv2cook — March 12, 2006 @ 11:36 pm

  12. Thanks for this post. I am growing a small tree in a pot inside and hope to transplant it outside soon. As I live in the desert, I’m not sure how much hot sun it can take. Any idea? I’m in Zone 9a.

    Indira replies:
    Hello Jonny, checkout this “Garden web – curry leaves thread“. Lot of tips and information on how to grow a healthy plant.
    From what I know, I can say that it won’t take well to severe direct sunlight. Plant it on a shade area, sothat it won’t be exposed to prolonged periods of sunlight and regularly trim the new growth, this triggers and rejunavates the plant and it’ll branch out fast. Hope you find this information helpful.

    Comment by Jonny — March 12, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

  13. Indira, lovely post as usual. Curry leaves is my favorite herb, right up there with cilantro! I had a couple of babies growing in pots indoors, but they succumbed to some pest when I put them outdoors in the warmer months ๐Ÿ™

    I love curry leaf powder (Karuvepalai podi) with hot rice and ghee…supposed to help hair growth!! my daughter eats it because she wants to grow her hair like Jyothika (tamil/telugu actress)!!!

    Comment by Saffron Hut — March 13, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  14. It’s my favourite herb! And very healthy – has tons of calcium, fiber, carotene, iron and folic acid.

    I use it in idli milaga podi and sambar podi(gives a very nice flavor), as well as chuteys and thuvaiyals too (ofcourse tadka too!).

    Comment by Kay — March 13, 2006 @ 10:08 am

  15. dear indira,
    the malayalam word is not ‘kareapila,’ but ‘kariveppila,’ or ‘karuveppila,’ just like the tamil words, but without the tamil’s ‘ai.’
    the meaning is clear – veppu is neem, kari is ‘curry’ itself. since the leaves resemble neem leaves, it is the ‘neem used for curry.’

    the plant is called ‘kariveppu,’ or ‘karuveppu,’ and for the leaves, ‘ila’ is added.

    ‘kareapila’ is a corrupted pronunciation used by certain groups.

    Comment by renu — March 13, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

  16. Hello Indira:

    Reading your wonderful post on Karuvepalai and Tadka reminded me of an article I read in the Hindu some time back by a nutritionist, Ruth Davidar, in Bombay. She had some interesting comments on the science behind Indian cooking. Here it is: . Hope you enjoy it.

    On an unrelated note, my childhood was spent at a boarding school in the Rayalaseema region. Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of your blog:) But anyways, I’ve been meaning to ask you this: We used to get a sweet which for some reason we had nicknamed “Mica” sweet. Texturally it was like very very fine tissue paper with some sweet filling between the layers. It was amazing and would just melt in your mouth before you barely took one bite. Any idea what I might be talking about:) I’ve been struggling to get its real name so I can google it for recipes but so far no luck. Just thought I’d ask you in any case.

    Looking forward to your response….

    Comment by Janani — March 13, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

  17. Hi Indira…

    Just for information, there are two distinct types of Karivepaku as I know… One grows to have light coloured leaves even if its a mature tree, the other has very dark, thicker leaves.

    They both differ slightly in flavour and strength. I will try to find out if they have different names. We have both those varieties at home.

    Great/Simple post.

    Comment by Vidyanath Tirumala — March 13, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  18. Indira, i hope you don’t mind if i answer Janani’s question. I just got curious.
    Janani, are you talking about ‘Pootarekulu'(also called Paper Sweet)? These are sweets made of rice flour wraps with a layered filling of ghee and powdered sugar.
    There’s an article about them here:
    There’s a pic here(couldn’t find a better/different one):
    Or were you talking of something else?

    Comment by sandhya — March 13, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

  19. Janani, i forgot to mention how Pootarekulu are made.I got this description by googling(buried in a discussion about something unrelated on a food forum):
    “In coastal andhra, we make a sweet with poota rekulu (putarekulu, for googling). Poota rEkulu
    (literally means “smeared sheets”) are very very thin rice sheets. I was told that they pour/smear (?) very smooth and thin rice batter (almost like “ganji”-rice starch you get from cooking rice in a vessel,stove-top) on inverted earthenware pots that are heated from underneath. The result is ultra thin rice sheets. I never saw the actual process. We buy
    those sheets by the dozen, smear melted ghee on the “rEku” (sheet), sprinkle powdered sugar, layer several sheets and roll them up like jelly rolls. pUtarEku is a rare delicacy in Andhra. Recently they started calling pUtarEkulu the “paper sweet” in sweet shops”

    Comment by sandhya — March 13, 2006 @ 9:48 pm

  20. Hi, great blog! I love the curry leaves in fish curry or in a buttermilk curry. They can be dried in the microwave for a few minutes and will keep well in a sealed glass jar for a couple of months when needed! but I agree the fresh version is more fragrant… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Aisha — March 14, 2006 @ 11:34 am

  21. Glory Hallelujah ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Sandhya..that is EXACTLY what I was talking about. Now to find some Putarekulu in Toronto:)

    I remember my telugu classmates singing a song from a Chiranjeevi blockbuster I forget which which had the line “Punchukuntavale Poothareaku” I’m probably just killing the words but that’s what it sounded like to me:)) Anyway thanks a ton

    Comment by Janani — March 14, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

  22. Hi,

    Can someone tell me where I can get a mature kari patta branch?

    Indira replies:
    Hi Joan, I posted a link to garden forum in one of the comments above. Check it out for resources where you can get kari patta, how to take care of it etc.,
    About the appam, I’ve not yet posted the recipe, but check ‘My pleasure and My Treasure” blog on the sidebar foodblogs list. There is a one very detailed recipe about appam there, in beautiful images, blogged by fellow Indian blog friend, Annita.
    Hope this helps.

    Comment by joan fonseca — April 6, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

  23. Hi Indira,
    I just came to know abt ur website while i was googling for avacado.
    In kannada, curry leaves are called karibevu soppu.I’ll be blogging my udupi/karnataka recipes very soon!!

    Comment by Chitra — April 7, 2006 @ 9:16 am

  24. Hi Indira,
    what a wonderfully informative site you have! With all the stuff youรƒฦ’รขโ‚ฌลกรƒโ€šร‚ยดve posted, makes things easy for me, I live in South America and Indian spices etc are a luxury, especially the fresh ones. Would you know, (coz I believe it was Nupur who mentioned that karipatta can be grown from a seed, is that true?!!) If so, do you know anyone who can mail some to me(anyone having a mail order facility?) Would be obliged.Rgds. M

    Comment by marge — November 21, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  25. This is a wonderful informative site. I have been searching for this site since a long time. I live in Canada and if you would know someone who can send me these seeds as I would like to grow them.

    Thank you

    Comment by Arlene — March 3, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  26. We grow Curry Leaves in Houston, Texas.We can ship you fresh curry leaves straight from the tree.

    2 oz Package $5.00
    5 oz Package $9.00
    Postage $2.00

    281-257-0891 ask for Rani

    Comment by Leslie Gunaratne — June 18, 2009 @ 11:09 am

  27. I am looking for fresh neem tree leaves, I live in Houston, TX, can anyone help.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Nour — January 25, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  28. I grow this plant in South Florida ,USA-in ground. It does need full sun,more the better and is fairly draght tolerant. One drawback is that it’s roots spread all over the lawn and new plants sprout from roots all over my yard. When I need leaves, I just pluck baby plants from lawn. Rest of the time they get mowed down by lawn mower.Does not grow that well on pots.

    Comment by alka — May 11, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  29. I would like to export curry leaves, powder from India in bulk, can anyone from any country do business, Indira could you take forward

    Comment by PushpaValli — August 7, 2010 @ 8:36 am

  30. Hello I have a 4 feet tall curry leaves plant and it is sorrounded by smaller plants.I live in the Philadelphia area.I do not know how to remove the smaller plants and take care of the big one in winter which is doing very well in the heat .Thanks.

    Comment by Farzana — September 8, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  31. how can you forget Kannada? In Kannada it is “Karibevu”.

    Comment by gundu — November 12, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  32. Its very nice post and useful for health, have a look to this blog here get best remedies on health very help us

    Comment by kadi patta — January 30, 2016 @ 12:57 am

Your Comment


(required but not published)

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

It sounds like SK2 has recently been updated on this blog. But not fully configured. You MUST visit Spam Karma's admin page at least once before letting it filter your comments (chaos may ensue otherwise).