"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Muringaella Thoran (Drumstick tree (Moringa Oleifera)'s leaves with coconut gratings)

Somehow it is becoming increasingly difficult since Lent started to write my recipe creations. There is a lot of challenges I experience during Lent and quite unexpected too. I guess that is what happens in the spiritual world with a battle between Good and Evil! So it is probably but natural that a lot of these challenges and unwanted concerns arise during the season of Lent. How you deal with it is probably a test of your faith.  Also, I seem to have a lot going on at once and hence the delay in sharing this way too simple recipe.

You can prep this dish when you are free or even whilst doing another activity that does not involve using your hands. You can even get your toddler/little ones to assist. They will definitely enjoy doing so and you can have some fun time with them as well while prepping for the dish.

These  leaves came from my parents' garden. I have always loved the drumsticks' tree leaves. And as mentioned in an earlier blog post we grew up in a villa which had this huge Moringa Oleifera tree growing in our front yard garden! These leaves are rich in Vitamin B, C, Provitamin A, Vitamin K, Manganese, Calcium and yes Protein!! Remember overcooking these leaves as with some other leaves as well would kill some of its nutrients. So it is normally cooked on medium-low heat of up to a maximum of 60°C.

Prepping the leaves requires either some old newspapers or a 'Muram' which is either a bamboo or plastic tray. It looks like this. I have the plastic version and will share the photo soon. So you basically you take the drumstick branches and gently tap it on the newspaper or the Muram and the leaves fall off the branches and stems.

You need to make sure to discard the thinner stems as well as it can get in the way once you cook it and tends to taste more bitter than it should. Also its quite stringy so you really cannot chew your way through it. I have photos of version#1 for you where I experimented cooking the thinner stems. It was a pain to get them out of the cooked dish. So make sure you painstakingly discard the stems prior to cooking.

This is mum's recipe <3

You need:

  • 5 cups Drumstick leaves, washed clean and separated from branches and stems*
  • Half a small coconut, grated *
  • 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder 
  • 1/3 cup Split Pigeon Pea (Toor dal/Tuvara dal), semi-boiled (optional but adds more texture and flavour and not to forget added protein!)
  • 1/2 cup Red pearl onions/shallots/small onions
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to sprinkle
  • 2 Green chilies, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera/jeerakam)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • Cooking oil

The Make:

Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15-20 minutes  | Serves 2 adults

1. Set the washed and separated leaves aside on a colander to drain.

2. Next using a mortar and pestle or a grinder, crush the coconut gratings, garlic, cumin seeds and pearl onions with only a sprinkle of water not more.

3. Transfer the drained Moringa Oleifera leaves and crushed ingredients to a large bowl and add the salt, green chilies and turmeric powder.

4. Add the drained semi-cooked split pigeon peas to the bowl.

5.Splutter mustard seeds in oil a large deep bottomed pot or wok and add the curry leaves.

6. Next add the sliced onion and fry for about a minute or until translucent.

7. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the drumstick leaves with the ground mixture blend and saute slightly. Cover and cook for not more than 15 minutes or until the leaves are cooked and no residual water present. The leaves turn to a nice dark green colour as well.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Since we eat very less coconut in our diet, I restricted it to half of a small coconut you could add more as you require and in proportion to the quantity of drumstick leaves. So for 3 cups of drumstick leaves, I added 1/4 cup of coconut.

Bon Appetit!

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