Sunday, 10 February 2008

moringa omelette

Firstly, this is my 300th post since I started Morsels & Musings in early May 2006. Yippee!

OK, on to the important stuff . . .

The fantastic grocery store across the street from my home often yields amazing delights. One of which is both the pods and the leaves of the moringa tree. The pods looked like long green jousting sticks while the leaves turned the fridges into a mini jungle.

Curious about the flavour, I asked how to cook the leaves and had a group of elderly Indian women giving me excellent tips on omelettes and simple spice-laden fried dishes. With this much attention and instruction, I was compelled to try it out.

When I got home and Googled the plant I was shocked to discover just how nutritionally exceptional it was. Those little old ladies weren’t lying!!!

In English it's also known as Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Mother's Best Friend, Radish Tree, West Indian Ben. If you’re wondering if you know this plant by another name, here’s a list of hundreds of names in a multitude of languages.

The women in the shop suggested I fry the leaves in a little ghee with green chillies, garlic and spices but when I saw VK's fried egg recipe I knew I had to Recipe Road Test it and develop my own version to give Jonas a healthy dose of moringa for breakfast.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Ulrike from Kuchenlatein, more than two years after VK submitted the original recipe to WHB.

Moringa Omelette
Slightly varied from the recipe by VK from My Dhaba. Serves 2.
Ingredients:

5 eggs
1 cup moringa leaves, carefully picked from the stalks and washed
½ brown onion, chopped finely
2 green chillies, very finely sliced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Dash white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Ghee or oil for frying
Method:
1. Heat a frying pan, pour in the oil or ghee.
2. When hot, add the onions and green chillies and fry till they turn limp.
3. Add the moringa leaves. Sprinkle a little water and ½ teaspoon salt over the leaves, cover with a lid, and let the leaves cook for 5 minutes over moderate heat.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon salt.
5. Remove the lid from the moringa leaves and fry, stirring frequently.
6. When dry, pour the egg batter slowly all over the moringa leaves, distributing the egg batter evenly.
7. When the egg sets, remove from the heat and serve.
Anna’s Variation: This was originally a scrambled egg dish but I decided to turn it into an omelette. I decreased the chilli content to only one fourth of the original. Call me a wimp if you like, but I say VK was pretty tough to have 8 chillies in there!

Moringa oleifera, from the family Moringaceae, grows in semi-arid tropical and sub-tropical areas, thriving in sandy soil. It grows to around 10m tall but is often kept smaller in order to harvest leaves and pods.

The tree is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas and possibly is widely grown throughout Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Moringa is an amazing tree because almost every part can be eaten and is exceptionally nutritious due to its high vitamin and mineral content. The leaves taste like spinach, pods are said to have an asparagus flavour while cooked flowers are supposed to taste like mushroom. The roots are also eaten, although they contain a significant nerve paralyser and should be avoided.

The pods, also known as drumsticks, are long and are probably the most used part of the tree. They can be added to curries and stews or served boiled or steamed. Older pods yield peas that can be eaten like nuts.

The leaves are used mostly in Africa and the Philippines, where they are added to a traditional chicken broth called tinola. They have huge nutritional value and in fact studies have found that, weight per weight, moringa leaves have:
- 7 times the Vitamin C content of oranges
- 4 times the calcium of milk
- 4 times the Vitamin A of carrots
- 3 times the potassium of bananas
- 3 times the iron of spinach
- 2 times the protein of milk

The moringa seeds also have culinary purposes since they yield 30-40% oil.

The presscake (solids) left over after oil extraction are extremely useful in purifying water. A website I found said that “[moringa] seeds are highly effective in removing suspended particles from water with medium to high levels of turbidity . . . acting as both a coagulant as well as an antimicrobial agent”. Studies carried out since the 70s have shown that moringa seeds remove 90-99.9% impurities from the water and to treat 10 litres of water you only need 5ml of moringa seed powder!

It’s believed that a family of five would only need two moringa trees to maintain their water supply, although the Moringa stenopetala seeds seem to work better than Moringa oleifera.

Moringa’s international status is growing amongst aid agencies who see the huge nutritional benefits of the plant in areas where people are suffering serious malnourishment. Powder made from dried leaves can be added to gruel and drinks to provide massive nutritional supplements to starving populations.

Animals can also utilise moringa's nutrition. Farmers who include moringa leaves in their animal fodder see significant weight gain and health benefits.

Some of the world’s most poverty stricken areas are prime habitat for moringa trees, which can be grown very quickly: it’s one of the fastest growing biomasses on the planet and, if using propagated limbs, pods are produced around 7 months after planting. This provides a cheap and local resource, making it easily accessible to those who need it. In fact, they can grow it themselves!


References:
http://treesforlife.org/project/moringa/default.en.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera
http://muriellascorneronmoringa.googlepages.com
http://www.echotech.org/network/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=863

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17 comments:

  1. I love seeing how recipes can get spread through WHB. I do remember that post, and I'm quite sure it was the first time I'd ever heard of Drumstick leaves. I think I read somewhere about a project to raise funds for planting the tree in third world countries, because of the high nutritional value of the leaves.

    What an interesting post for #300! Congratulations. I wish I could taste it myself! And your version with less chiles would be just right for me.

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  2. What an interesting herb. Thanks for sharing it. And congrats for the latest reaching your latest milestone.

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  3. What a great post Anna, I wish I could try it myself. Thanks for your WHB submission.

    Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

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  4. Very interesting and informative post! I wonder if I could fine some in Sweden?

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  5. We had a drumstick tree at home and didn't know the leaves were edible! Very informative. You must dry the pods in a dal or sambar - they are delicious...

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  6. I love this vegetable! We call it malunggay here in the Philippines. We grow it in our backyard, great with soups too or in salads. I've featured some in my blog. I would like to try this omelette though. Thanks.

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  7. Excuse me for commenting so late. I'm really intrigued by this. When I saw the photo, I thought it was fenugreek leaves (very similar leaf). But it is clearly a completely different plant. I love the idea of a slight horseradish flavour - I also love chilis in omelettes (one of my favourite omelettes is green chili with coriander leaf to garnish). There is something about green chilis and eggs that works so well.

    -Elizabeth

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  8. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. We are from the Philippines. We have this tree at the back of the house but we have used this for a dish for less than 10 times only. We have been living in this house for almost ten years. Yeah, what a shame for those wasted opportunities for not having this nutritious food added to our meals when we can get it for free. We would try to do better now that we have read somuch about "malunggay" or moringa.

    Thank you.

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  9. We call this kelor, the leaves as daun kelor. Back then when I was in Indonesia, I used to have the fruit of moringa and cooked for sayur asam, a kind of clear sour soup. The fruit is called as klenthang in Javanese and drumsticks in English.

    You might be interesting with the recipe that I have posted on my multiply.

    http://evimeinar.multiply.com/recipes/item/368/Indonesian_Recipe_Steamed_Moringa_Leaves_and_Tofu_Loaf_Loaf_Kukus_Daun_Kelor_dan_Tahu

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  10. This is a fascinating ingredient. Where in Sydney can you buy this product? I would love to try it.

    David

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  11. david - i got the moringa leaves from fiji market on king street in newtown.

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  12. Hello! If you want to know more on Moringa, you can vesit our website that offer free information and contacts at www.moringanews.org
    Bon appetit!
    armelle

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  13. Yes, there's protein in milk.

    Can protein come from leaves and much more than milk?

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  14. Thanks for new recipe, only now i'm hearing about moringa omelette. This shows how valuable moringa leaves are. Check this also moringa seeds

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  15. I always knew that moringa was wonderful I had no idea about the seeds that had purifying properties. wonderful

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  16. Oh, too bad I can't view the image and I don't know why! As a Moringa tree advocate, I'm looking for dishes that could make out of this miracle tree so I could share them to everyone. I've known about soup and salad, but this is the first time I've read about an omelette. I would love to try it, though. MoringaDelight.com

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    Replies
    1. apologies i had a little accident and deleted EVERY photo on my blog (1000s). it's a long and arduous task to upload them all again.

      Delete

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