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 “food for the hungry”.
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 (Thoran) with Grate Coconut
- 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.
- 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.
- Combine well.
- Heat the oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds followed by the chopped shallots.
- After the shallots are cooked to tender, add crushed chillies and curry leaves (optional, I didn't use them).
- Saute for a couple of minutes on a medium flame.
- Now add the mixed moringa leaves and combine 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.