Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ai Ye Leaves In My Garden


Remember my joy at re-discovering mugwort or Ai Ye atop a hill in Balik Pulau? 

Well, guess what?

I am growing them in my garden now. 

The recent rainy weather has helped. The plants are flourishing. 

And mugwort is a plant that keeps on propagating too. Each time I pluck off the leaves, I stick its stem back into the earth or pot of soil and the stem soon starts growing! 

I love making omelette with mugwort leaves. There's something about the distinct fragrance of this plant that I crave. 

I also am a big believer that if I crave something, my body is telling me I need the nutrients in that particular type of food. So I go ahead and indulge myself. 

Still I find that my own mugwort leaves aren't as pungent as the ones my mom-in-law grows in her garden in Kuching. It must be the weather! 


Ai Ye or mugwort plants happily growing in my garden


Anyway, when my mugwort plants start to grow all over, I start plucking the leaves and storing  them in the fridge. No point letting them grow old and tough. 


Plucked Ai Ye or mugwort leaves ready to be stored in the fridge

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Have You Seen Curry Leaf Berries?

Ripe berries or fruits from my 9 foot curry leaf tree. 

This is a photo of the ripe fruits from my 9 foot curry leaf tree or known scientifically as Murraya koenigii . Yes, most curry leaf plants are about human height. 

Mine is a bit special because when it was still a young sapling, I used a lot of my own homemade compost. It had so much of nutrients that it started growing taller and taller. 

Right now, it is shading the compost pots! 

Which means I am cooler when I stand under this tree to do my daily composting. You see how wonderful it all works out to be? 

Because these berries attract the Asian koel (black birds with fiery red eyes which make the annoying loud "ku-yo, ku-yo" sounds), the curry leaf seeds get propagated everywhere. 

Yet some drop right under the tree and start growing. I have a curry leaf sapling attack haha. I keep pulling the saplings up as there's just too many. 

Besides throwing them into my curries (my most recent fave being this chicken paretel curry which is so easy to prepare it almost seems like cheating!), I have eaten it fried to crisps in Thailand especially in Chiangmai. They deepfry the curry leaves and mix with fried groundnuts, ikan bilis and dried chilies and kaffir lime leaves. It makes for such an appetising snack with a clear tomyam like taste. 

Curry leaves can also help with hair loss. I heard that chewing fresh leaves (3-5 leaves, not stalks) daily helps as the leaves are full of antioxidants. Still, I haven't made it a habit. I do however eat curry leaves especially if they're in curries. 

The other thing I found out is that you can use curry leaves, pounded into a mushy paste, as a hair and scalp mask. Leave it on for 2 hours (wear a shower cap). Wash it off and it seems your hair will be lustrous, dandruff-free and grow easily. 

One other remedy is to heat 5 sprigs of curry leaves in a cup of coconut oil. Cool and apply on hair and scalp for best results. I must try this soon!

This website mentions: "Curry leave contains vitamin B6, which is really effective in acting as a hormone regulator in the process of hair loss."

While writing this blog post, I started discovering that the curry leaf has quite a number of medicinal properties such as anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and can protect the liver from damage. Its bark can be used to treat snake bites.

Here's a list of what the humble curry leaf can do for you:

  • good for eyes as it contains Vitamin A 
  • stops diarrhoea
  • improves hair conditions & growth 
  • a leaf paste treats insect bites and mosquito bites
  • lowers bad cholesterol 
  • protects the liver 
  • fights cancer (as evidenced from research carried out by Department of Medical Chemistry at Mejio University)
  • skincare (apply the juice or paste)


Everyone should have a curry leaf plant or tree in their garden. It grows easily under bright sunlight and doesn't need much care at all.

The only thing is, everyone comes and plucks my curry leaves! (Did you know that Tesco sells these for RM1 a bunch?) I don't mind sharing my abundance with them but some people are just too greedy. Give them a few sprigs and they keep asking for more. But at least they ask.

Others just come and pluck as many as they please.

Anyway, that's why we hacked down our beautiful pandan patch. Nic was getting pissed that everyone came to pull and tug the pandan. We keep telling them to bring a knife and cut the pandan properly but people can be so stupid and stubborn. One guy, after Nic literally yelled at him, came back AGAIN to steal our pandan leaves!

The trials of living in apartment complexes with people who don't like planting their own food but love coming by to take others' hard work!