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How to Grow and Cook the Curry Leaf Plant – Murraya keonighii – Rutaceae

Curry Leaf Plants growing.

Original content by Wilmot W. – Master Gardener

Curry Growing Information
The curry leaf plant is native to India and Sri Lanka and has small and very pungent aromatic leaves. The leaves are used in Asian cooking, mainly in curries and soups. Murraya Koenigii (Curry Leaves) comes in three different varieties:

  • Regular variety grows very tall and is the fastest growing plant among the three varieties. The leaves look like the ones you can buy at the grocery store.
  • Dwarf variety does not grow as tall but the branches spread. Light green leaves are a little taller than the regular variety but it has a aroma of its own.
  • GAMTHI variety is the most fragrant. It has a very thick leaf structure, but slowest growing of all the curry trees.

All three varieties have one thing in common. They like full sun, very well drained soil, which should be on the dry side and they need fertilizer during the summer months. Used in cooking, there is nothing like picking the right amount of fresh curry leaves when you need them.

Tips on Growing Curry Plants

  1. Remove hard shell to expose the seed before planting, it may help germinate quicker.
  2. Do not sow seed too deep in soil.
  3. It is better if seed are picked and then sowed as soon as possible. The seeds should not be too old.
  4. Curry Plants flourish well where temperatures are above/around 65 degrees.
  5. Small Curry Plants do not do well in direct sun light during hot summer weather.
  6. Curry Plants don’t do well if soil is too wet. The soil needs to be well draining soil.
  7. Let the soil dry a bit between watering cycles.
  8. During cold winter nights, bring young plants inside house or at least cover the pot with shade cloth/sheet to avoid night frost which will definitely kill the plants.
  9. Leave small curry plants in the same pot for about a year (or 4-5 inches tall) before transplanting into a bigger pot/planting in ground.
  10. It’s very critical that the curry plant roots are not disturbed. The best way to transplant is to move the plant with the root around soil into a new/bigger pot.
  11. Potted plants requires regular fertilizer, mainly during spring/summer time. Do not give to strong of a dose to young plants.
  12. Plants can be grown from seeds or from suckers from the adults tree

Delicious Curry Leaf Pesto!

Curry Leaf Pesto Recipe

1 Cup of fresh Curry leaves (Remove the individual leaves from the stem)
1 Quarter of Red Onion diced
2 Large green Chilies chopped *
4 Medium Garlic cloves peeled and chopped
½” Length of fresh Ginger stem thinly sliced
¼ Tea spoon of ground Black Pepper
¼ Tea spoon of Salt
Juice of a whole fresh Lime

(* You can control how hot you want the Pesto to be adding or reducing the quantity of Chilies)

When you are selecting the curry leaves for making Pesto, try to use most healthy and mature leaves mixed with younger leaves to get a balance of flavor, taste and its natural oil.

In a food processor or hand blender, blend the Curry Leaves, Onion, Chilies, Garlic and Ginger for a few minutes then add Ground Black Pepper and Salt and continue to blend to get the Pesto to the right texture. Remove the Pesto into a glass dish and add the lime juice and mix well and leave it for hour or so that he natural oil from the curry leaves to permeate in the Pesto. Do not incorporate any olive or other oils to this so that you can enjoy the natural oils of Curry leaves. You can leave the Pesto in the glass container in the refrigerator and use the Pesto up to two weeks. Use it as a spread on your sandwiches, mix it with your Pasta, use it the same way you use chutney or salsa. Not only does it taste good, you know it does you good!

Instructional Video

Recorded LIVE
Who: Wilmot W
When: December 8th, 2012
Where: The Garden Pool in Mesa, AZ
Length: 35 minutes
This class was recorded live in a classroom setting. To be a part of our classes in person, join our meetup group.

Grow your own Curry Leaf Plant!

Get your Curry plants here.