Curry leaves are the main seasoning ingredient in many south Indian dishes. They have a delicious, earthy, nutty aroma and taste and are used in combination with mustard seeds and asafetida to season a dish. Curry leaves are used in dals, sambhar, chutneys, lemon rice, coconut rice, and dry vegetable dishes like potatoes, raw bananas, cabbage, and beans. Just 8-10 leaves are required to season and they fill the kitchen with a heavenly and enticing fragrance!
The fresh leaves are valued as seasoning in the cuisines of South and Southeast Asia. They are most widely used in southern and west coast Indian cooking, usually fried along with vegetable oil,
mustard seeds and chopped onions in the first stage of the preparation. They are also used to make thoran, vada, rasam and kadhi. In Cambodia, the leaves are roasted and used as an ingredient in a soup, maju krueng.
In Java, the leaves are often stewed to flavor gulai. Though available dried, the aroma and flavor is greatly inferior. The oil can be extracted and used to make scented soaps.