Guide to Indian Grocery Store Vegetables: Curry Leaf

Guide to Indian Grocery Store Vegetables: Curry Leaf
curry leaf


Karibevu (Kannada)
Karivepaku (Telugu)
Karuvepillai (Tamil)
Karivempu (Malayalam)

Curry Leaves are so quintessential to South Indian cooking!

📢 PSA: Not related to curry powder in any way. 📢

We find that it attracts butterflies often! Look at the sheen on those leaves. These leaves are filled with oils: and this is where the flavor comes from. 🦋

Also called “sweet neem leaves,” they grow on the curry tree, which is part of the citrus family. It's hard to describe the taste with one word because the chemical compounds in curry leaf are the same oils found in cinnamon, lavender, pine, rosemary! ✨🌿✨

So words like peppery, woody, citrusy all describe it well. 🌲

The leaves have a distinct, sweet and pungent taste that has been compared to anise and lemongrass.

The fresh leaves are valued as seasoning in the cuisines of South and Southeast Asia.

In Cambodia, where the leaves are called sloek kontroap, the leaves are roasted and used as an ingredient in a soup, maju krueng.

In Java, the leaves are often stewed to flavor gulai.

In India, it's often used in tempering/tadka/popu/chhonk - a practice where whole spices are bloomed along with aromatics (like garlic and dry ginger) and herbs (like curry leaf). Read more about the art of tempering by Priya Krishna here

Curry Leaves are also the big flavor element in our Curry Leaf PODI