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Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry

Before we delve into the moringa (drumstick) leaves recipe, let me tell you about this ‘tree of life‘ a bit!

The story of ‘moringa‘ or ‘drumstick tree‘ is a fascinating one!

Moringa, a native of the Indian subcontinent, has been cultivated for centuries in the tropical climates of Africa and Asia. It is a popular cooking ingredient in the South Indian kitchen.

Long before it came to be recognised as a “super food“, my grandparents’ generation knew about the benefits of this tree. Back in the days when we used to live in independent homes with access to well water, there was always a moringa tree planted next to the well. All the leaves that the tree shed will then fall into the well, and they believed it purified the water which was then used for drinking and cooking. No sambhar was complete without the tender drumsticks. There were tons of other recipes made with the drumstick or moringa leaves – stir fries, daal and other curries, the options were numerous.

As a food, its leaves are rich in antioxidants, protein, minerals and vitamins A, B and C. The drumsticks, or tender seed pods, are a good source of dietary fibre, and contains vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.

“Moringa” has been called the “the miracle tree” or “the tree of life“. In some of the poorest countries in the world, these drought-resistant trees provide much needed food and nutrition during the times of famines. It’s no surprise that Fidel Castro once called moringa โ€œfood for the hungryโ€.

Picture of Moringa (drumstick) leaves stir-fry with grated coconut
Picture of Moringa (drumstick) leaves stir-fry with grated coconut

In this recipe, we’ll make a moringa leaves stir-fry, or thoran, just the way my granma used to make it. We’ll temper mustard seeds, shallots, curry leaves, and crushed dry chillies in oil, and stir fry with another super food – (grated) coconut. And it’s all organic!


Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Image
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5 from 4 votes

Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry (Thoran) with Grate Coconut

This delicious moringa (drumstick) leaves stir-fry is made with two superfoods - moringa and coconut. This traditional recipe is easy, healthy and tasty!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Kerala
Keyword: moringa, moringa leaves, super food, superfood
Servings: 4 serving


  • 250 grams moringa (drumstick) leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder optional
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • to taste salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup shallots
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dry chillies
  • 1 sprig curry leaves optional


  • Wash and drain the moringa leaves. Get rid of all the thick sprigs. Finely chop the shallots.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Moringa leaves are cleaned
  • Crush the shallots with the flat surface of your knife. Chop them.
  • Take the moringa leaves, grated coconut, turmeric powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Mixing with grated coconut and turmeric powder
  • Combine well.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Combined with grated coconut
  • Heat the oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds followed by the chopped shallots.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Tempering mustard seeds followed by shallots
  • After the shallots are cooked to tender, add crushed chillies and curry leaves (optional, I didn't use them).
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Crushed chillies added
  • Saute for a couple of minutes on a medium flame.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Sauted with crushed chillies
  • Now add the mixed moringa leaves and combine well.
    Moringa Leaves Stir-Fry Steps Image - Moringa leaves added to the pan and mixed well
  • Cook with the lid closed for 10 minutes. Add salt if required. Stir occasionally.
  • Open the lid, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Switch off.
  • Serve hot with some rice and curry.


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  1. Margaret Fort

    I cant wait to try this, love your website. Moringa and spinach pancakes is my breakfast. Being gluten intolerant I use oat or brown rice flour 2 cups, as I have a Thermomix I throw in a whole bunch of washed spinach, a whole branch of Moringa leaves with 2 cups water a little oil and 5-6 eggs, it makes a jug full and lasts a week. Every morning, I make one large pancake, cook, then fill with steamed green beans and a little Mozarella cheese flip half over and serve. I eat half for breakfast and half for lunch. The taste sensation is when you drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar. Notice no spices I am 78 and spices are not my thing, but you go for it. I have 28 Moringa growing along my rear fence in Western Australia.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much, Margaret! I hope you have tried the moringa recipe, and liked it too ๐Ÿ™‚
      I am going to try your pancake recipe. It sounds like a delicious, healthy meal. Thank you for sharing <3

  2. 5 stars
    Great Recipe!!!
    Thank you!
    Yesterday I collected a bunch of moringa seeds and sprinkled them with olive oil and salt, then roasted them in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 250. Delicious!

  3. Very well written recipe. Am planning to use Moringa leaves for the first time so looking forward to making this dish.

  4. Mariette Mistry

    Good One Indeed !

  5. Sravanthi Gorakanti

    5 stars
    Hey.. awesome recipe. Thanks for sharing! Is it dry or fresh coconut that you used?

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Sravanthi,
      Thank you very much.
      I used freshly grated coconut.
      If you do not have it handy, desiccated coconut or dry coconut will do fine.

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks for the morimga recipe…
    Have done before but didn’t turn out that good
    Will follow your recipe..

  7. I tried this recipe it was so tasty. Thankyou for sharing this tasty, healthy and easy recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Kick-ass recipe! Thanks

  9. Mahani Liau

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  10. Thank you so much for this . It is now 2020 in the midst of Covid-19 and I am trying to use the produce in my backyard. I have 2 moringa trees and have only used moringa leaves in my green smoothies, while my Mother uses the seeds to control her hypertension. I will now use your recipe with my favourite….coconut milk. Thanks again and may you all keep safe in this pandemic.
    Dee from Kingston, Jamaica

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hey Dee! That’s a lovely feedback. Thank you. Moringa is indeed the tree of life. And the culinary options are endless. ๐Ÿ™‚
      This recipe uses grated coconut, but like you mentioned we can make curries using coconut milk and moringa leaves (or the drumsticks).
      Stay healthy, stay safe!

    • Pramilla Karnad

      Definitely planning to try this stir fry recipe. Looks so good! I’ve used these leaves in dal earlier. Heard it’s very good for joint pains etc. Thanks . ๐Ÿ˜Š

      • The Take It Easy Chef

        Thank you very much, Pramilla ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you tried it and were happy with the results ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Ravee Raghavan

    Here in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico where I live, the tree grows wild and folks dont know its use or nutritional value. Older people dry the flowers and make tea. In younger years I remember grandma’s preparation in curry sauces and others. I would like to know when to harvest the drumsticks, when young and green or in mid-late life? I assume when young/green right? Can I cut them into 3-4 inch pieces and just throw them into chicken/vegetarian curry dishes? Shame to waste this nutritional gift of nature.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Ravee,
      Great to learn that you have access to fresh moringa leaves and drumsticks. Absolutely! Harvest the drumsticks while they are young and green up to mid-late. Never tried with chicken. We use them in many vegetarian dishes. 2-3 inch pieces will be ideal. You can stir fry them or add them in curries (you’ll see them in many Sambhar preparations).

  12. Very quick and easy!! And simply delicious!! Thanks!!

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Manali,

      Thank you very much! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I am happy to learn that it came out well. We make this at home almost every week.

  13. this recipe is looks so easy and yummy!!! I plan on cooking it for dinner tonight.

  14. I truly love your content. This article is amazing. I am sure I will be going through it several times.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hello Tilly,
      Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I am sure you’ll love cooking some of these recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Hello Arun. I was hunting for the same recipe. My grandmother used to make this once in a while and stuff into our mouths, ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been meaning to prepare this since a long time, had forgotten the preparation process. Thank you.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Rajini,

      Thank YOU for checking out the recipe. I am glad you have found what you were looking for.
      I guess, we both owe it to our grandmothers!! ๐Ÿ˜€
      For us, there was no need to stuff into our mouths though!

  16. anne george

    I did not use the quantities you had put down, so probably that is why I ended up adding more coconut. Since it was my first attempt, I tired it on a little bit of leaves.
    Today I cooked it again and it came out great, and I like it. I liked it the first time too that I had to go all the way to the Indian store to get more. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Anne,

      That’s fantastic! Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I am glad you liked the moringa leaves recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I tried cooking this for the first time. It came out well…. almost….just that I added more coconut. But now I know. Thank you. Great recipe. Lovely presentation too.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much Anne! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am glad to hear you almost liked it ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Do you feel 1/2 cup grated coconut is too much? Do you recommend reducing it a bit?

  18. Asi Virobo


  19. Asi Virobo

    I have tried drinking moringa juice but never tried cooking moringa leaves. I’ll try cooking now after reading your recipe..

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi, thank you. I hope you like it. Please let me know how it goes.

    • 5 stars
      Thanku dear I am going to make fr first time hope it wll b delicious .my mom used to cook in daal with rice. I don’t know how to cook thanks fr th help .

      • The Take It Easy Chef

        Hi Mehmooda,
        Thank you!
        I am sure you’ll love cooking this moringa leaves stir-fry! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Anita Nohur

        Hi I love the morning leaves or drumstick herbs as we Indians fondly know to us, tried this recipe it mind-blowing….. Thanks โค๏ธ
        Anita Nohur

        • The Take It Easy Chef

          Thank you very much, Anita.
          This is a humble recipe, with an easy preparation, but ending on a delicious note ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I stumbled upon moringa whilst travelling in northern india. I liked it that much I started importing it to the UK. have it every day in my smoothie

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      That’s fantastic! I love moringa – leaves and drumsticks. I guess that’ll contribute as one of your five a day!

  21. Hans Kupfer

    I grow a moringa tree and and it was never used as a food source .Today my Indian doctor suggested to eat moringa leaves to rise my hemoglobin .
    So right now I will try your recipe
    The medicinal fact are quite convincing

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Moringa leaves, and drumsticks prominently feature in many traditional South Indian recipes.
      Now it’s recognised as a super food!

      I am sure it’ll work for you too. Hope you like the recipe. Please let me know how you find it.

  22. Lovely post. I love these leaves, your recipe took me back to the Summers spent in my grand mother’s native home which housed moringa (murungakkai) trees.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you Sundari.
      Our grandparents had access to all those things good and pure, isn’t it!

  23. Leigh Suznovich

    I’ve never heard of these leaves before! This dish looks so healthy and flavorful, I need to try it!

  24. The take it easy chef

    Thank you very much! It’s tasty as well, isn’t it!

  25. Sujata Shukla

    Very well written recipe! At present I am taking care of my daughter post her delivery, and I ensure that drumsticks are included frequently in a kootu or sambar as part of the balanced healthy diet.

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