Eating Better, Recipes

Three Must-Try Recipes using Moringa/Drumstick Leaves

As a child, I hated greens. I also hated any vegetable with coconut added to it. I’d rather have double servings of the ‘roasts’ instead of eating a vegetable with coconut in it. I loved avial, arachuvitta sambar etc. but just wouldn’t eat any of the stir-fries (thoran/thaenga potta kari/poriyal) with coconut in it. This was the case until I got married and moved to the UAE.

I started missing the very things I hated once I started cooking on my own and didn’t have access to my mom’s cooking for most part of the year. One such thing I’ve learnt to appreciate in the last 6 years is murunga keerai/drumstick leaves/moringa leaves.

I absolutely love it now but didn’t care for it ever in my childhood. So I made a decision to consciously offer these to my kids early on. Loljk. My elder one started eating it because he thought it was green thaenga podi/coconut podi (which he is craaaazy about). This was mostly because that’s what we told him but whatever floats the boat, yeah? All thanks to The Good Leaf for their absolutely delicious moringa chutney powder which started the love affair for him (just to clarify, I’m not getting paid to say this).

The younger one is much more open to tasting greens/veggies in general, thank god for that. There are a few ways in which we enjoy this nutrient dense superfood (should have just listened to my Amma when she said the same decades ago) at home and today I’ll share three of our favorite recipes using fresh moringa leaves, of which two are loved by my kids just as much as it’s loved by us adults.

Moringa Podi/Mix

This is one mix that never fails and the entire family approves of it. It goes well with rice. Can be used as chutney podi to go with idli and dosai, can be sprinkled over sandwiches or even mixed into salad dressings. Or eat it plain mixed into some yogurt. I’ve done it all. As I type this, I think I should add some to hummus next time. Mmhmm.

Instant sevai with moringa podi
  • 4 cups fresh moringa leaves (washed and air-dried or sun-dried completely)
  • 4T chana dal
  • 2t mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/4t asafetida/hing
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2t coconut oil
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the dal and roast until golden.
  2. Add in the dried red chillies and roast until they turn just a tad bit darker.
  3. Add the asafetida and mix well. Don’t let it burn.
  4. Add all the moringa leaves and keep roasting until they’re crunchy and fragrant.
  5. Be careful not to burn them or let them darken too much.
  6. Once everything is crispy, turn off the heat and let it cool.
  7. Add to a mixer jar and pulse/blend into a coarse powder.
  8. Store in an airtight container and use within 7-10 days.

Notes:

  • I wash and air dry moringa leaves overnight + a few hours during the day before using it. I spread the leaves in a single layer, without them overlapping, on a soft cotton towel and cover it with another cotton towel during this period.
  • I use 3 Kashmiri or Byadagi chillies and one spicy/hot variety of chilli because the other three can’t handle anything spicier than that. Feel free to adjust this according to taste.
  • Choose tender leaves to get the best color and taste.

Moringa Chips

Move over kale chips, moringa leaf chips are way better. This is actually not new. If your mum/grandmum added moringa leaves to freshly made ghee, you’ll already know just how amazing these are.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of the chips. So here’s a picture of me toasting the leaves for making podi. It’s all bhai-bhai.
  • 4 cups fresh moringa leaves (washed and air-dried or sun-dried completely)
  • 2t coconut oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fat pinch asafetida/hing
  • Seasonings of choice, optional, if you’d like.
  1. Heat the oil in a wide kadai.
  2. Add the hing, moringa leaves and mix to coat. Do this on medium-high heat.
  3. Add salt and mix well.
  4. Keep stirring to ensure the leaves are crisping up uniformly and don’t burn.
  5. Once all the leaves are a tad bit brighter and crispy, turn off the heat. Add any other seasoning you’d like to use.
  6. Serve immediately or at least that’s what happens in this house. We eat it right off the kadai and there’s never anything to store/save for later.

Notes:

  • If you plan to store these for later, ensure they’re completely cool before you store them in an air-tight container. They’re still best used within 3-4 days imo.
  • These are great on salads. Add them just before you eat the salad.
  • Use tender leaves as these are the least bitter.

Moringa Leaves + Chickpeas Stir-Fry

This is just a fancy way to call murungakeerai thaenga potta kari/poriyal (moringa leaves stir fried with freshly grated coconut). My Amma adds moong dal to this usually to give it volume but I love it more with chickpeas. Makes it even more filling and can be had as a meal by itself.

Too lazy to scroll through the camera roll to find the chana version picture of it, but here’s a picture of the moong dal version. Pliss adjust maadi. Tnx.
  • 2-3 cups fresh moringa leaves. Washed and patted dry
  • 1-2 dried red chillies
  • 2t coconut oil
  • 3/4c cooked chickpeas/chana
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 3T freshly grated coconut
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4t asafetida/hing
  • 1t mustard seeds
  • 1t urad dal
  1. Heat oil in a pan and pop the mustard seeds. Add the urad dal and fry until golden.
  2. Add the hing, red chillies, curry leaves and stir for a few seconds – until the red chilies turn a tad bit darker.
  3. Now add the cooked chana and cook until they are slightly golden on all sides.
  4. Add the moringa leaves, salt and cook until they wilt/are cooked through but not a soggy mess.
  5. Now add the freshly grated coconut, stir to combine and turn off the heat. Serve.

Notes:

  • This goes well with rice as well as rotis. Also as a sandwich filling – yep, I’ve tried that too.
  • You can add garlic and onion/shallots to this if you’d like. Some garam masala will make it more sabzi like.
  • Again, tender leaves work best. If your moringa leaves turn out to be too bitter for your liking, use lemon juice or tomato to balance the flavor.

I hope you found these recipes interesting and useful. If you do try them, do let me know what you think. In addition, we also like fresh moringa leaves in dal, sambar, adai, omelette etc.

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