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Aug 6, 2010 02:26 PM

Curry plant and curry leaf tree

I love making curry, I was taught by an Indian friend who is no longer around. She had a curry leaf tree, I recently purchased a curry plant which it was obvious to me that theres a big difference. I didn't use the curry plant as a substitute for the curry spice, but adding it to my dish defiantly made a big difference in flavor. But its not as good as the curry leaf tree. This is what my friends recipe called for. So I live in south Texas, the curry plant was easy to find but a curry leaf tree isn't as easily found. Where can I find one? Will it live in this harsh climate? And what is the difference between curry plant and curry leaf tree? Should they both be used in a chicken curry? Thanks for your help!

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  1. The curry plant you bought is not the one that is used for Indian cooking. The one you want is shown at this link: . It is a 2-3 foot plant, with long compound leaves; each leaflet on the compound leaf is about an inch long. You use them like you would use bay leaves. I live in Houston, and have two growing in my patio. they do very well here as long as you don't let them freeze. I ordered mine over the Internet. I don't remember the exact company, but you should be able to find one easily.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LCherry

      Thanks, where did you purchase your curry leaf tree? Would you please tell me which website? So I assume you make chicken curry, I'm curious about your recipe if you don't mind sharing, everyone makes it differently. I just love Indian food, I had a few dried curry leaves left but they are all gone. I used the curry plant once but it wasn't the same. Thanks for your reply.

      1. re: BrianaElizabeth

        I bought mine from Logee's greenhouse (see: ), but I see on their site that they are temporarily out of stock. You might contact them and see when they expect to have some more in. You also can just try doing a Google search on the scientific name, Murraya koenigii, for other vendors.

        I actually tend to use the leaves more for southern coastal Indian cooking, which is heavily into seafood and vegetables. Take a look at "Curried Favors" by Maya MacMillan. It has some wonderful recipes using curry leaves.

    2. The Latin name for curry plant is 'Helichrysum italicum'. Horticulturalists use Latin designations so various plants will not be confused. Helichrysum is not an herb to be used in cooking. Here in the northeast it's an annual ornamental plant.

      Wiki has a good definition of Helichrysum:

      As well as the 'Murraya koenigii' LCherry mentioned:

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Thanks Gio, LCherry, I feel dumb having used it for cooking. I'm young and I love to cook but have had no formal culinary training, I've found that my experience with cooking has become full of mistakes, practice, and research. When I used Google to figure out what plant I actually had I found a reply from Gio to a post on this subject back in 2007. Then I found this site which I'm happy to have found. I'm already learning. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

        1. re: BrianaElizabeth

          BrianaElizabeth, Please don't feel dumb...! With your obvious desire to learn to be a good cook you've already learned a great lesson. We All make mistakes. However, with perseverance those mistakes are corrected by practice and resarch. Most important is prctice. Welcome to Chowhound. Cook and be happy...

          1. re: BrianaElizabeth

            I absolutely agree with Gio. I've been cooking for a lot of years, peppered by a lot of mistakes. Most notably,There is a parade of really bad loaves of bread that goes back almost 30 years. I can finally make an almost passable loaf, but of course now you can buy great artisanal bread all over Houston, so I seldom bother.

        2. People have shown you the difference between the "helichrysum" curry plant (decorative and medicinal use) and the Murraya Koenigii curry leaf plant, that is used in Indian cooking.

          However, there is no curry leaf in "curry" powder. Curry powder is a composite of spices customized for each dish, not one size fits all. Curry leaf is almost never an ingredient in these powders.

          Curry leaves are used mainly in Southern Indian and Sri Lankan cooking and if your chicken curry recipe is from these regions then the recipe may call for it. A few sprigs of leaves are fried with the spices at the beginning; or sometimes ground into a paste; or whatever the recipe calls for. Other spices (powders or pastes or whole) are added too.

          Hope this helps....