Moringa or Drumstick Leaves are packed full of goodness, and are only now being discovered outside of India. Good Asian shops will stock these leaves in season, so keep an eye out for them.
We have a drumstick leaf fest going on in our house. I brought home two bunches of them when there are fewer of us here than normal, so it is drumstick leaves each day. Not that this is a problem as they are the new “super food”, although outside of India it is more likely that you will find them in a pill rather than as a delicious bag of greens in your Green Grocer’s shop.
We have had Sambar and Dal and Thoran with the leaves, and so today we are making an Indian style soup. These soups are simple, and allow the wonderful tastes and textures of the vegetables to shine through, enhanced and supported with a few spices.
This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.
Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.
You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.
Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu, Puli Keerai, Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, and Race Kuzhambu.
Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.
One last item we are making in this particular focus on Moringa leaves is a podi, or South Indian spice powder. For this, the leaves are dried quickly and then powdered. Simple, easy and quick.
We like to make our own seasoning from Moringa Leaves. Moringa Leaves are the next big superfood to come to the West from India, but available mainly in pill form. Many will never have seen a fresh Moringa Leaf! We love to cook with them, dry them, and use them as a seasoning in a powdered form. Our Moringa tree is growing well and we hope to have our own leaves next season.
Here is another Poritha Kootu – Mung Dal with vegetables – for a quick and delicious meal. This version is not spicy, very little spice is added, just chillies and cumin with coconut. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables.
Sometimes Poritha Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It is a reasonable description, as it is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, and contains multiple vegetables rather than just one.
Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Snake Gourd, Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy (Keerai Molag00tal), Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.
There are a lot of Drumstick Leaves (Moringa Leaves) available now, so we have been buying them and painstakingly stripping the leaves from the stalks. When Moringa Leaves become the next superfood, remember that India has been using them for centuries. (Turmeric too.) And the leaves are very tasty – a slight bitterness adds a delightful flavour note to dishes.
Tonight we made a dal with Mung and added Moringa Leaves. Usually Moringa Leaves are used with Toor Dal, but as we have already make Sambar with them, tonight we chose split yellow mung. The sweetness of the mung with the bitterness of the leaves is a delightful combination.
Browse all of our Drumstick Leaf recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.
Continue reading “Moringa Leaf Dal | Dal with Drumstick Leaves”
Thorans are delightfully delicious, simple and quick dishes from the South of India that can form part of a meal, or can be eaten just with rice. Today our recipe is for Drumstick Leaf (Moringa Leaf) Thoran. The recipe is the same as all thorans – a tadka, some onion perhaps, the vegetable and some coconut. Delicious.
Also try Moringa Leaf Dal.
We have been posting some Poritha Kootu recipes recently and (at least for a while) this is our last recipe for a Poritha Kootu that does not include tamarind. In the future we will post a few recipes that do contain tamarind, but for now our focus has been with those that don’t, as it is the most common way to make this dish.
This version uses toor dal for a change. Our previous recipes have used mung dal, but Meenakshi Ammal recommends toor dal for this one as it is a better fit for the flavours used.
Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Brinjal Asadu, Poritha Kootu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.
Are you after Sambar and Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy). Try these Sambar recipes: Classic Seasoned Sambar Version 1, Version 2, Version 3 and Version 4. You can also try a Buttermilk/Yoghurt Sambar.
Browse all of our Kootu recipes, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Toor Dal recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.
Mung dal has that immediate effect of making you feel good – supported, nourished, loved. Because of this quality – Miso Soup has it as well – dishes with Mung dal have become our go-to recipes after late nights and missed sleep, when work is far too busy and when there is disruption in our lives. Often it is a simple Mung Soup or Mung Dal, or Kitchari, all made in under 30 minutes, but today we make Poritha Kootu.
Kootu (Koottu, Kothsu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and is any vegetable combination with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices (but usually without sambar powder). Occasionally Toor Dal is used. Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes black pepper is used, but it seems fenugreek is never used. Kootu is a thicker dish than Sambar or Kuzhambu. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker.
Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, uses red chillies in the paste. As usual, her recipe takes some unpicking as it a little maze-like. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel some of her recipes in Vol 1 of Cook and See. I feel like a sleuth as I work my way through her complex instructions.
Recipes for Kootu vary from region to region, town to town, household to household. Some places define Poritha Kootu by the inclusion of pepper and urad dal in its seasoning, which makes it a variation of Kootu. This is at odds with the way Meenakshi Ammal makes Poritha Kootu – her recipe does not include pepper.
I have used zucchini with other vegetables in this dish – zucchini is still a slightly exotic vegetable in India where it was only recently introduced. I have paired it with potatoes and drumstick. It’s kinda special, as the zucchini and drumsticks are home grown.
Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal, Puli Keerai, Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Poritha Kuzhambu (3), Poritha Kootu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Coconut Chilli Paste and Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind.
Occasionally the local Asian shop has Drumstick Leaves (also known as Moringa, Mungarai Keerai and Murungai Keerai) and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. One of our favourite ways to use them is to make a Drumstick Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.
The leaves, unless very tender, are quite tough to digest, so make sure you cook them well.
This recipe can also be made with the various types of Amaranth leaves.
Browse our Sambar recipes, and Drumstick Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
Continue reading “Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar”