Recently I planted some" murungaikkai" seeds and had a small plant growing in my container. While trying to research as how to plant it in the soil, I came across a lot of information about "Moringa" which is how the western world calls our murungaikkai!
It seems Moringa is one of the health foods that has super duper healing powers to cure any ailment listed in the medical textbooks! Well, Our grandmothers and mothers knew this way before wikipedia knew! We all remember the famous Bhagyaraj movie where he uses murungakkai as an aphrodisiac. He is a genius man, I am telling you!
Many homes in south India will have a Moringa tree and we use the pods for making sambar! The aroma of well seasoned murungakkai sambar is just AMAZING. The green leaves are used to make kari, kootu, added in adai or used while making ghee!
while having a conversation with my medical assistants, I heard that one of them had this tree in their house and did not know what to do with the leaves etc. After I explained all the things we do with murungakkai, my MA brought me a whole bag of those leaves.
And, I made this stir fry with Moringa leaves. My family cooks this keerai only with moong dal, coconut ( No onion or garlic) and that is how I remember eating this. I used onions and cooked murungaikkeerai after many many years. I had some friends over and they all loved this dish. i shared this with my medical assistant who also liked the dish. I want to share this recipe with you all.
Once you have the leaves, remove them from the stem, it is called " elai ayaradhu". The leaves are tiny and one does not need to chop them, but i gave it a rough chop! Like any other greens, once cooked the leaves reduce in quantity.
- 3-4 cups of moringa leaves washed and roughly chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves chopped ( optional)
- 2 tbsp grated coconut
- 1/4 cup moong dal washed and soaked in water X 20 mins
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp urad dal
- 1 red chilli broken in half
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 1-1/2 tsp salt or per taste
- In a pan, add oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal , red chilli and as asafoetida.
- Once the mustard splutters and the urad dal is golden brown, add the onions and saute till translucent
- add the chopped moringa leaves, the soaked and drained moong dal.
- add salt to taste, reduce flame and mix all well. do not cover and cook as the greens will become dark
- Add the sugar, this helps to keep the green color and also takes away the slight bitterness from moringa leaves.
- The leaves will wilt and cook everything till the moong dal is soft, but still retaining it's shape.
- Adjust salt as per taste.
- Add grated coconut and give everything a toss.
- Turn the heat off. To make it more flavorful, add a tsp of coconut oil at the end.
Serve as a side for rasam, sambar or morkuzhambu!