Tuesday 16 September 2008

drumstick masala

This Recipe Road Test comes straight from fellow blogger Lakshmi from Flavors of Indian Rasoi.

It worked wonderfully and Jonas and I really enjoyed the unique flavours. If you wanted you could easily apply the basic gravy to any vegetable combinations and have a delicious meal.

I have written about Moringa oleifera for WHB before, but then I was focusing on the leaves. This time I want to draw your attention to the most commonly used part of the tree, the long pods which give the tree its common English name: Drumstick Tree.

Munagakaayala Pulusu (Drumstick Masala)
Recipe by Lakshmi from Flavors of Indian Rasoi.

4-6 drumstick pods
1 medium sized potato, cut it into big pieces
2-3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 big onion
4-5 teaspoons fresh coconut
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 dried red chillies
10 curry leaves
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
1½ teaspoon red chilli powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp of curd
½ cup rice milk


1. Grind coconut, coriander leaves, ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and onion and keep it aside.

2. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, dried chillies, garam masala, turmeric powder and fry well.

3. Add coconut-spice paste and tomatoes and fry well.

4. After 5 minutes, add drumsticks and potato and fry for some time.

5. Add water, chilli powder and salt. Cover it and let it cook on medium heat.

6. When it starts boiling add curd.

7. To check whether the drumsticks are properly cooked, take a spoon and touch them to see if they are soft

8. When the drumsticks are ready, add the milk and cook on low heat for not more than 5 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and eat with rice.

Drumstick pods are extremely popular in Indian cooking, and for good reason. They are delicious (almost like asparagus) and highly nutritious. In India, young drumstick pods can be turned into curries, stews, sambars, kormas and dals. They can be served steamed or boil and it’s also common to add cooked pulp to finished dishes for a unique flavour. Older pods yield peas that can be eaten like nuts.

Moringa grows in semi-arid tropical and sub-tropical areas, continuously flowering and fruiting.

The tree is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas but 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, the pods taste like asparagus and the cooked flowers are supposed to taste like mushroom.

Last time I blogged about moringa during WHB I included this list, but I think it’s amazing enough to include again. Weight for 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

Some of the world’s most poverty stricken areas are prime habitat for moringa trees, which are also one of the fastest growing biomasses on the planet! For this reason aid agencies see it as a huge nutritional benefit for those suffering serious malnourishment.

People use drumstick trees to assist stomach aches, gastric ulcers, skin diseases, low blood sugar, poor bone density, nervous conditions, diabetes, fatigue, poor lactation, hay fever, haemorrhoids, headaches and sore gums.

It’s also believed to strengthen the brain, gall bladder, liver as well as digestive, respiratory and immune systems.

Flower infused honey is used as a cough syrup, leaf infusions are used as eye washes for conjunctivitis and seed oil is used for earaches, skin problems and as an insect repellent.

Other drumstick and leaf recipes include:Drumstick Pickle
Mboum (Senegalese sauce)
Moringa Bread
Drumstick, Potato & Eggplant Bhaji
Moringa Omelette
Yeruvalli Kuzhambu (drumstick & coconut curry)
Moringa Juice
Munakkaya Pulusu (drumsticks in tamarind)
Moringa Dal
huge list of international recipes

The recipe also happens to satisfy one of my 2008 Food Challenges (learning about regional Indian cooking) because the dish comes from Andhra Pradesh.

Known as the "rice bowl of India", Andhra Pradesh is located in the south: bordered by the regions of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the East, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west.

It is the 4th largest Indian state (by area and population) and is certainly the largest in southern India with a population of 76 million people. The capital is Hyderabad and the official language of the state, spoken by 84% of the population, is Telugu.

Agriculture is an important income source, with the main crops being rice, sugarcane, cotton, chilli, mango and tobacco.

The food of Andhra Pradesh is famously spicy and rich, with heavy influences from Muslim cuisine.

Lamb, chicken and fish are used a lot, as well as spices and ghee. The Hyderabadi biryani, a delicious rice concoction, has spread throughout India and the world and is very popular.

Pickles and chutneys (pachchadi) from Andhra Pradesh are also very famous, the most well known probably the mango pickle Aavakaaya.

This week our WHB host is the lovely Zorra from Kochtopf. Be sure to visit her blog for the round-up.




  1. I love drumsticks. Just came back from India and had atleast twice a week dumstick dishes as my mom knows i love them.
    This curry looks super delicious.

  2. I've never heard about drumsticks but must say with so much nutritious it's a must to try, the dish looks delicious

  3. It is an amazing plant, but this is the first time I knew that the pods are also edible, even tasty! It looks delicious. I've never seen the leaves or any other part of the plant here though. (Great post!)

  4. What an amazing plant! Unfortunatley I don't think I can't buy it here. :-( So I just can look at your pictures and drooling.

  5. Hi there,
    Great recipe with drumsticks.. like the authentic telugu name as well.. jus wondering what happened to the onion and coconut paste that we kept aside; when exactly do we add it????

  6. shrey - oopps, sorry about that omission. i've fixed that now!


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