Curry leaves, also known as kadi patta or sweet neem leaves, are commonly used in Indian cuisine for their distinct flavor and aroma. Beyond their culinary applications, curry leaves offer several health benefits and can be used for various purposes. Here are some of the benefits and uses of curry leaves:
1. Rich in nutrients: Curry leaves are a good source of vitamins A, B, C, and E, along with minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Including curry leaves in your diet can help boost your nutrient intake.
2. Aid in digestion: Curry leaves have digestive properties that can help improve digestion and relieve gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. They can also stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, promoting better nutrient absorption.
3. Manage diabetes: Curry leaves have been traditionally used to manage diabetes. They contain compounds that help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Including curry leaves in your diet or consuming curry leaf tea can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes.
4. Support hair health: Curry leaves are known for their positive effects on hair. They help strengthen the hair follicles, prevent hair loss, and promote hair growth. You can apply a paste of curry leaves to your scalp or use curry leaf-infused hair oil for these benefits.
5. Enhance skin health: The antioxidants present in curry leaves help combat free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative stress. Regular consumption of curry leaves or applying a paste of curry leaves on the skin can improve complexion and treat various skin conditions.
6. Reduce cholesterol levels: Studies have shown that curry leaves can help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood. The antioxidants in curry leaves prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which can lead to plaque formation in the arteries.
7. Anti-inflammatory properties: Curry leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. They may be beneficial in managing conditions like arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory disorders.
8. Improve eyesight: The high vitamin A content in curry leaves contributes to good eye health and can help improve vision. Regular consumption of curry leaves may help prevent conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.
9. Flavoring agent: Curry leaves are widely used as a flavoring agent in various dishes, especially in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. They add a unique, aromatic flavor to curries, rice dishes, chutneys, and soups.
10. Herbal remedy: In traditional medicine, curry leaves have been used to treat various ailments such as morning sickness, nausea, insect bites, and even as a mild diuretic.
Curry Leaf Paneer Stir-Fry ( you can substitute for tofu if you’d like a vegan version of this):
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 400g paneer or tofu, chopped into small cubes
* 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
* 2-3 green chilies, slit lengthwise ( optional)
* 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
* 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
* 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 10-12 fresh curry leaves
* Salt to taste
* Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat.
Add the paneer cubes with a pinch of turmeric, black pepper and salt, and stir-fry until they turn golden brown and aromatic. Remove the paneer and set aside.
In the same pan, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and wait until the mustard seeds begin to pop and jump around in the pan.
Add sliced onions and green chilies. Sauté until the onions turn translucent.
Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
Now, add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, ground coriander, and ground cumin. Stir well to coat the onions with the spice mixture. Add a little water or oil if the pan is too dry.
Now add the fresh curry leaves and continue stirring for a minute to release their aroma.
Return the paneer to the pan, and toss it with the onions and spices. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
Season with salt to taste and add a dash of fresh lime or lemon juicier you like.
Remove from heat and garnish with more fresh curry leaves.
Serve hot with fluffy white rice, flatbreads or anything you like.