Tag Archives: Murraya Koeniggii

My Tropical Asian Treasure Trove – Part 2

Apart from those hidden Asian treasures in the micro shady boondocks of my backyard, summer warmth has spurred the growth of aromatic foliage which I need, for home style cooking, dishes which I grew up with, taught by my mother and grandmother, food that makes a house smell like home.

Walking around in the morning, at times with coffee mug in hand, pinching or breaking a leaf or two, inhaling the aroma, makes me appreciate what a little bit of each plant can do to enhance our chemical sensing system of smell and taste.

The very easy-to-propagate Lemongrass, nothing to do with lemons, has a citrus flavor which can make a not-so-appetizing dish smell heavenly. In Asia, it is used in soups, spicy stews, sweet tea, curries, as a basting brush for barbecues, as an air freshener in cars, fragrance for soaps and hair oil, heck! it’s supposed to even attract Honey Bees (which is why Lemongrass essence is placed in swarm boxes).

Lemongrass does not like lemons

It looks like scrawny weeds but has very sharp-edged blades and hibernates to a brown clump in winter. It’s also supposed to repel mosquitoes but that aspect is one I can’t vouch for.

The Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii) to me is what makes a Curry taste and smell like real Curry!  It is a plant native to India and Sri Lanka … the land of Curries, of course! I grew up with this in my backyard ~ yes, déjà vu.

Curry Leaves do smell like Curry.

Can this be found in all Asia grocery stores? No, only Indian run stores, unfortunately, which is why I need to grow my own. I harvest and dry some when it produces its leaves abundantly, just in case there is a bout of winter frost, that’s when it gets bald.

But … there is so much more that can be concocted with this herb, not just curry,

Just a versatile herb.

and in case you are curious (and brave) enough, you might even like to try making Indian Shepherd’s Pie. 😀

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Not All Pestos are created Equal

I was told that the word Pesto may be derived from Latin words, either pistus which means “crushed” or pastare which means mortar-pounded. My Italian girlfriend could not specifically tell me which held more weight.

Nevertheless, when I found that my Curry Leaf plants (Murraya Koenigii) simply grew amok (they must have loved Hurricane Matthew) … I decided it was time for another coppicing session, a severe one too.

Grew faster & thicker than usual.

Grew faster & thicker than usual.

I also decided, with so much Curry Leaves going to be available after the cutting and snipping, to try making Curry Leaf Pesto, out of curiousity . These days with global fusion cuisine there’s no reason why Pesto has to be Italian in taste and aroma, and only be used on pasta, right?

With the kind contribution of a Facebook friend, I got a link to a recipe from ‘The Star’ that did not look too complicated.  recipeSo a portion of the tallest branch was trimmed and the leaves washed & dried.

All needed ingredients.

All mentioned ingredients.

And the outcome… ?

a mildly fragrant pasta

a mildly fragrant, delicious pesto!

I think this will go very well with brown rice and on toast and am going to put it to good use for tomorrow’s lunch.

 

 

 

Never underestimate a Stick-in-the-Mud!

Mother Nature will work at her own pace, in her own time & as she pleases.

Late spring is the time when I propagate tropical herbs in preparation for their growth surge in summer. When late summer is warmer than expected, some cuttings do not make it and some just choose to hibernate. It is now Fall and it’s warmer than normal … but some “dead looking sticks” are coming back to life.

The Curry-Leaf plant (Murraya Koenigii) seems to always want do things their way, so fellow Murraya growers, do not be disheartened when you see a stick in your soil. Do not pull & discard, for they are tough dudes those Murrayas.

This is only my 3rd year of propagating this from cuttings. My mother plant simply does not bear flowers to produce seeds.

There's mama Murraya today.

There’s mama Murraya today.

Just for Information since I’ve had quite a few inquiries, I’m sorry to say I do not propagate to sell. I donate them to a couple of thrift shops with gardening corners & give them to some FB Friends from S.E. Asia now living in the US.
Yes, we curry cooking people just can’t do without them. :mrgreen:

Growing Curry Leaf Plants

This year’s Florida summer heat and rain must be ideal for the Curry Leaf Plants to grow its leaves & branches, but without any flowers (yet). Micro climate in my garden? Maybe.  Curry Leaf Bush & her companionsCurry Leaf Bush & her companions ~ Comfrey & Jicama ~ an experiment that has so far turned out very well.

I also have a lanky tree-like plant (I call her Ms Lanky) growing next to the guest room wall. The micro climate idea (which I got while staying in a little hotel in Tampa, run by an Indian family whose Curry Leaf Plant grew like a monster next to a concrete wall)  seems to be working well over the last 3 winters.

Ms Lanky

Ms Lanky

Yes, the concrete wall with the afternoon sun stays warm after sunset which helps keep Ms Lanky to stay productive and green while The Bush loses some leaves and  hibernates under a frost cover. That’s my year-round system for Curry Leaf supply & my southern-wall shade ‘tree’/heat insulator.

I also realize that when well fed & happy, they also produce babies via their roots, not necessarily from seeds… & here are  ‘Baby Rooties 1 and 2’ .

Baby Rooty 1

Baby Rooty 1

Baby Rooty 2

 

 

Mother Nature works wonders, so I just have to see where she allows me to grow what I like & follow her lead.

Oh, and Curry Leaf Plants loooove coffee grounds.