By Gael (Plot 234)
Scientific name: Murraya koenigii (recently renamed Bergera koenigii but still sold by former name.)
The curry tree is as a small tropical – sub tropical tree growing to about 4-6 metres. It is native to areas of India and Sri Lanka. It has aromatic pinnate leaves and in summer clusters of small white flowers which self pollinate to produce shiny black berries containing a single seed.
In tropical areas it can become a weed so care needs to be taken; the seeds propagate freely as well as the widely spreading roots producing suckers.
It will grow in Melbourne in a sheltered position and can withstand the occasional light frost. Plant in full sun to light shade in any soil as it is not fussy. Feed regularly and prune to encourage a bushy growth.
It can be grown from stem cuttings or seed but remove the outer flesh surrounding the seed first.
Culinarily, curry leaves are famous for their use in curries and are usually added to hot oil or ghee along with onions in the early stages of cooking. In addition to curries it is added to dahl, soups, flat breads and chutneys. It has a spicy aroma with overtones of citrus and anise giving a refreshing and tantalising taste.
Curry leaves are not to be confused with curry powder which is a combination of many spices. Leaves may be refrigerated for about a week.
Note: The Gardens are not allowed to grow tree that shed the neighboring plots.