Thursday, April 5, 2012

Drumstick curry - Murungai kai curry


At my ancestral home, we had a big murungai tree that would blossom after the monsoon season. I never cared much for ours then - my eyes were always set on the mango trees. It was an old and a most stubborn tree that would only blossom periodically. One day, along with some garden work and for whatever reason, we cut down the twigs and branches of that tree. Even though I had never cared much for it, I was saddened to see the state of that beautiful tree. It was only then that I realized its value. I missed the fragrant white flowers that we would inhale. I missed the shadow that we would take refuge in. And most of all, I missed the sight of these green, thin drumsticks that we would desperately try to fetch by jumping up and down with a long stick.    
The murungai or moringa tree, is sometimes also referred to as the miracle tree and almost all parts of the moringa oleifera tree has some valuable usage. In cooking however, the long, immature green drumsticks and the highly nutritious leaves are most commonly used to prepare a wide range of dishes in South Asia and South East Asia. Various parts of the tree is also used for water purification and in alternative medicine. From what I know, only immature drumsticks are used in cooking. The mature drumsticks are very bitter in taste and are therefore not used in cooking. The cooked drumsticks are eaten almost the same way cooked artichoke leaves are eaten. You drag the flesh away with your teeth. Even though eating drumsticks can be a hasslesome affair but nobody I know can withstand drumstick curry. It is really that delicious.

And for those of you who are wondering what happened to the murungai kai tree. It did grow back. I told you... it was a stubborn tree. ;)     

Ingredients:
2-3 drumsticks
1 1/2 tbs coconut oil
1 onion
2 green chilis
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 fennel seeds
1 tbs curry powder
2 tbs thick tamarind paste (adjust)
2-3 tbs coconut cream
2 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups water (or enough to cook)

Method:
Rinse and scrub the drumsticks. Peel the rough green exterior. Cut the drumstick in half, lengthwise. Then cut them into smaller pieces, about 2-3 inches. Finely chop the onion and cut the green chilis, lengthwise or into smaller pieces. In a pan, heat 1 1/2 tbs of oil at medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds and allow to splutter. Add the onion, curry leaves and green chilis and saute until the onion is translucent and the curry leaves are fragrant. Then add the drumsticks and fry for 2-3 more minutes. Now add the curry powder and fry for one more minute and then add the water. Put the lid on, lower the heat and allow the drumsticks to cook. This may take about 30 minutes or longer. Stir well and allow to cook (until desired level of graviness). Lastly add the tamarind paste and coconut cream and stir well. Taste and adjust spices if necessary before taking away from the stove.


27 comments:

Vardhini said...

Tempting curry and gorgeous clicks. Thx for linking to the event.

Vardhini
Event: Legumes
Event: Side Dishes

Asiya Omar said...

NICE CLICKS,LOOKS TEMPTING.

Soundarya V said...

Adding coconut milk is new..nice clicks..

Lizzy said...

I've never heard of murungai before, but I loved the story of your childhood memories...and its fragrant blossoms. I hope someday to taste it...your curry looks lovely!

mjskit said...

Interesting story about the moringa tree. I've never heard of it so I'm going to have to go look it up. Your curry looks spicy and tasty and your photos are beautiful!

Follow foodie said...

Thanks for dropping in my space.
Love the curry.Great clicks
Yummy!
http://followfoodie.blogspot.com/

Umm Mymoonah said...

Delicious looking curry and well captured. Thank you for linking with Healthy Morsels :)

Rathai said...

Thank you everyone for dropping by and leaving your comments. :)

Ramya said...

the curry looks spicy, yummy and tangy..thanks for linking dear

Mahi said...

Nice curry Rathai..coconut milk enhances the taste for sure! :P

I'll get this veggie in summer..will try it n let you know. We too had a murungai tree back home, but for a few years only! Nice write-up! :)

Amy's piece of cake said...

Älskar dessa drumsticks! Vet du vad dom heter på svenska? I Gujarat kallas dom för saragvo. Vilken fin layout du har fått på bloggen! Jag vet inte om jag tycker om min header... men man måste förnya sig ibland :) Stor kram till dig!

Rathai said...

Mahi,

Yes, I remember seeing it when you posted the vadai recipe recently. We also don't get drumsticks very often here but when I saw my mother bring them home recently, I decided to make this curry. I still feel it doesn't have that fingerlicking magic touch that my mother's drumstick curry has. I will have to work on it. :(

Kanan said...

This curry looks great. I never made curry with drumstick. I think I should make it. This new design of blog is awesome. love it

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Sounds and looks very very tempting! Great pictures :)

Rathai said...

Thank you Amy, Kanan and Rak's for your kind words. :)

Padhu said...

Looks so inviting!

Ambika said...

Looks amazing!! I love murungakai and this curry looks perfect! Love your blog and photography!!

schmetterlingwords said...

Wow!! Lovely Murungaikai curry... I'm a big fan of murungaikkai... your story of the tree reminds me of the one we had in our house. As with yours, ours was also a stubborn tree and it stands still in our backyard majestically with those slender murungaikkais... Am missing those now...

Thank you for linking this tasty and delicious curry with Healthy Morsels - Pregnancy :)

Mahi said...

//I still feel it doesn't have that fingerlicking magic touch that my mother's drumstick curry has. I will have to work on it. :(// Nobody can beat "Amma's cookings" Rathai,including you! ;)

Probably your kid might repeat the same dialogue in the future! :))))))

But,please don't stop working on improving your culinary skills for this reason,learning never ends! ;)

கொஞ்சம் ஓவரா பேசறேனோ? ;)

easyfoodsmith said...

The curry looks so delicious. It reminds me of the drumstick and potato curry my ma-in-law makes.

Rathai said...

Padhu, thank you and thanks for dropping by.

Ambika, thanks for your compliments and kind words. :)

Aysha, I know what you mean. I wish I had taken some pictures of these indigenous trees and learned some traditional recipes when I got the opportunity a couple of years back. Arghh.

Mahi, LOL. Not at all.. you are full of wisdom. :)

Easyfoodsmith, thank you and you are right. It's a very versatile and cooperative vegetable that can be cooked with other vegetables, seafood etc.

Anisha Ranjit said...

The pictures look so awesome that every time I try to read... I go back to the picture coz it's so attractive... Too good. My husband is a fan of drumsticks... I should try this.

Only Fish Recipes said...

lovely recipe dear...as usual gorgeous clicks !

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

You write so well, Rathai. I started to care about the tree while I was reading it. I would probably care only about mango trees too just like you (and so envious that you have mango trees!). So happy to hear that the murugngai tree came back! It's funny how we get used to something but when it's gone we feel like we miss something important. I probably will not have a chance to get this ingredient yet it was fun learning about the new ingredient. :-)

Anonymous said...

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Renuka said...

The curry looks amazing. I so want to try it. When you mention curry powder in your recipe is it the curry powder found in non-indian stores or some specific masala?? I usually make mine in toor dal.

Rathai said...

Renuka, thank you. We use a curry powder by the brand/name "Surya curry powder", which I believe is Indian.