This is the first of a series of posts on this blog, on using the nutrition rich moringa leaves and drumstick pods in simple and delicious dishes. Nature has in her bounty, given us this tree offering nourishment and means to fight disease. We can easily make good use of this richness. The Murungai Keerai MoreKuzhambu is an extension of the morekuzhambu or yogurt/ buttermilk stew. This is made in Tamilian and Kerala homes, though known by different names and with slight differences in the making process, in each of the States.
Living in Bangalore has extended and enhanced my culinary skills, because I have access to a large variety of fresh produce. The ‘exotic’ ones not commonly found in India are of course more expensive than the local produce. I do not buy imported fresh produce but stick to those grown domestically. However I have easy reach to the moringa leaf, a common local ingredient. Our apartment garden has a tree which is flourishing and I can get a sheaf of the leaves whenever I want.
Making Muringai keerai MoreKuzhambu:
The first time I got a bunch of these leaves, I was reluctant to waste them. I started exploring recipes where they can be used. I was making the traditional yogurt/ buttermilk stew, MoreKuzhambu in which I usually add capsicum slices briefly sauteed in coconut oil. Instead, this time I sauteed moringa leaves (washed and dried well in the salad spinner), and added them to the stew. The result was a delicious murungai keerai morekuzhambu or drumstick leaves morekuzhambu which I had with hot rice and a tiny bit of ghee. And microwaved pappad. No fried pappad though I do love it, but I’m trying hard to cut calories and lose weight.)
The murungai keerai morekuzhambu is not a good recommendation for those who want to reduce food portions at meal times, because it is so very tasty, its difficult to stop at one serving! The tadka of coconut oil enhances the flavours of buttermilk cooked in coconut cumin chilli paste. The leaves have a high nutrient value, rich in minerals and vitamins, and have been used in some countries for fighting malnutrition in children and adults. In this recipe, the leaves are lightly sautéed, which would decrease the nutrient value as compared to adding fresh leaves directly.
For more information on the possible nutritional benefits of the moringa leaf, refer Healthline.com
Foodie Monday BlogHop
The theme for the 179th event of Foodie Monday Bloghop, is FoodMagBest. The theme, suggested by Seema (more about her blog, below), was for us to write a post with an image we would like to appear on the cover of a Food Magazine. I thought a lot about what I would post. Then I wondered, what recipe of mine would a reader like to see on the cover of a popular upscale food magazine? It has to have something about nutrition and health. It has to be something that the reader can see himself preparing at home, from everyday ingredients, and yet have something special. The murungai keerai MoreKuzhambu seemed to tick all the right boxes. Easy, simple and yet unique because of the addition of nutrition rich drumstick or moringa leaves.
Seema, whose name I mentioned above, writes a very lovely blog, Mildly Indian. Browsing the blog, you will see a variety of recipes, Indian and International, with posts on her experiences during travel. There are delectable dishes like Pumpkin chai Popsicles and a 5 Minute Pavlova Parfait! Do visit and check for yourself.
The murungai keerai morekuzhambu does not take much time to prepare. If you have grated coconut and murunga leaves available, then the process is very easy. Do try the recipe and let me know how you liked it!
Other recipes that you might like to explore on PepperOnPizza:
Murungai Keerai MoreKuzhambu: Moringa Yogurt Stew
For the Murungai Keerai MoreKuzhambu
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup moringa (drumstick) leaves fresh or dry. As in instructions below, wash and dry the leaves well before using, even on the previous day, so that they can be sauteed without being too moist
- 2 cups Yogurt/Curd
- 1 pinch Haldi/ Turmeric Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Cumin Powder/ Jeera Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or, to taste
For the Coconut Cumin Paste
- 1 teaspoon Channa dal (kadalai paruppu) (Bengal Gram lentils) for soaking
- 1 teaspoon raw rice for soaking
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut or dessicated coconut if fresh is not available
- 1/4 teaspoon Cumin (Jeera) seeds
- 2 Black peppercorns
- 1 fresh green chilli
- 1-2 curry leaves
- 1 cm fresh ginger
For the Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil if required, as you will be using the oil left over after sauteeing moringa leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon Cumin (Jeera) seeds
- 1-2 dry red chilli
- 3-4 fresh curry leaves a few
To Make Coconut Cumin Paste
- Soak the raw rice and dal in water for 10 minutes. Add the soaked dhal and rice to the grated coconut, ginger, jeera, peppercorn, 2 curry leaves and the green chilli and grind to a paste, adding very little water at a time, just as much is required to make a paste of chutney consistency - not dry, not runny either. Keep aside till required.
To Make Muringai Keerai Morekuzhambu
- While you wait for the rice and dal to soak, let us get started on the moringa leaves. As in Ingredients list above, the leaves should not be damp or moist as you are going to saute them. Shred the leaves to pieces. Heat the coconut oil in a pan/ small kadai. Dont let it smoke, it should heat in 30 secs- 60 secs depending on the climate. Once you see some movement on the surface of the oil, add the shredded moringa leaves. Saute on low flame for just 1 minute. Drain and remove from the oil, and keep aside in a small container. Let the oil remain in the pan for seasoning later onl.
- Churn the yogurt - I don't add water but you could add just a little if the curd is very thick. I just whisk it with a metal whisk till it is all liquid. Place a pan on the stove, add the churned curd. Keep the heat on low throughout the cooking process as otherwise the curd will split. Keep a whisk handy to whisk it all together from time to time. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder and salt. When the curd simmers (about 5 minutes) whisk again and then add the coconut paste. Stir it in. Still on low flame, let it come to a boil (3-5 minutes) Whisk periodically. Add the sauteed moringa leaves Continue to boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat and continue with the seasoning as below.
To Season the Morekuzhambu
- Use the pan in which you had sauteed the moringa leaves. Add another spoonful if there is very little oil left. You need only about 2 teaspoons max. Heat the oil as before. Add mustard seeds, let them crackle (about 20 seconds if oil is hot enough) Add cumin seeds, let them darken slightly (about 20 seconds) Add the dry red chilli, turn it around after 5 seconds so that both sides get evenly dark without going black. Add the curry leaves (I shred them first so that these nutritious leaves are eaten instead of being discarded at the corner of the plate) Pour the hot seasoning onto the morekuzhambu. Serve hot with plain rice and bhindi, beans, brinjal or karela fry. And Pappad!