A classic South Indian-style dry curry made with few ingredients and no oil, this moringa leaves recipe is a must-try. When served with rice, dal, or chapati, this gluten free and vegan curry makes a nutritious and tasty side-dish or accompaniment.
Recently, it has gained immense popularity in western countries and it is being named a “miracle tree” It is considered a superfood because a cup of these leaves contains a significant source of essential nutrients.
In India, the drumstick tree, scientifically known as Moringa Oleifera, has been around for centuries. In Indian cuisine, drumstick tree leaves and young seed pods are commonly used in dishes like sambar and stir fry dishes such as munagaku vepudu, murungai keerai poriyal with moong dal and moringa leaves dal are few to name.
Moringa Leaves: Fresh young leaves taste good for this recipe. You can use frozen leaves too but make sure to thaw properly before you use them.
To Blend: Dry red chillies, peanuts and cumin seeds. I've used blanched raw peanuts and medium spices dry red chillies. Feel free to use any variety of peanuts and red chillies. However, ensure to adjust chillies to suit your spice preference.
How to cook moringa leaves?
Wash the moringa leaves with water and set them aside.
Dry roast peanuts in a small pan and transfer them to a plate.
Dry roast red chillies in the same pan for a minute, then switch off the heat and briefly roast cumin.
Grind peanuts, red chilies, and cumin in a spice blender until coarse.
In a deep skillet, mix together drumstick leaves, salt, and water.
Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until drumstick leaves are tender and water is fully absorbed, stirring regularly.
Turn off the heat, add 2 teaspoons of ground peanut-red chilli powder.
Stir until completely mixed together.
Variations and Substitutions
I made this curry without onion and garlic. For an extra flavour boost, include a couple of garlic cloves. Blend them in a blender with the peanut mixture.
Lime juice is a fantastic addition. Add a dash of it and stir at the end.
Add freshly grated coconut or finely chopped dried coconut for a deliciously nutty taste to this dish.
Tips and Tricks
Do not add too much water to cook moringa leaves. Moringa leaves become bitter when overcooked.
Keep a glass of hot water nearby to prevent overcooking. Whenever needed, add a few tablespoons of water at a time if more water is necessary while cooking.
Make sure to stir frequently for even cooking.
Before adding cumin, remember to turn off the heat to avoid over-roasting. The pan's heat is sufficient for roasting cumin.
This recipe tastes best when made with young leaves. When cooking with mature leaves, ensure they are well-cooked as they can be difficult to digest, especially for children.
Get rid of inedible stems and wash the leaves 2-3 times with plenty of water to remove dust.
The quantity of water required to cook moringa leaves can vary depending on the quality of the leaves. Less water is required to cook young leaves, while mature leaves need more water.
I’ve used blanched raw peanuts. Any kind of peanuts can be used.
Use peanut coarse powder to your liking and store any leftovers in an air-tight container. I frequently use it in stir-fries and kohlrabi curry.
Fridge: Drumstick leaves recipe stays good for 3-4 days in the fridge if stored in a clean airtight container.
Freezer: Leftover moringa curry could be stored in the freezer for future use. If there is a considerable amount, divide the curry into the required portions into freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags and store them in the freezer.
Defrost: Thaw the drumstick curry the night before you plan to consume it. Take a portion out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop until hot.
No, they are not the same. They originate from different plants and serve different purposes in cooking because of their distinct flavours.
Drumstick leaves can be consumed as a leafy green vegetable, while curry leaves are commonly used as a seasoning and flavouring agent in various south Indian dishes.
Yes, moringa leaves can be frozen for later use. Freezing is an effective method to maintain the nutritional value of the leaves for a longer time.
Collect fresh moringa leaves from the tree and make sure they are clean and free of dirt and insects. Or buy it from the market.
Boil a pot of water and get a bowl of ice water ready to blanch the leaves.
Place the moringa leaves in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. By blanching the leaves, their colour, texture, and nutrients are preserved.
Transfer the blanched leaves to the ice water right away to halt the cooking process.
Remove the blanched leaves from the water and carefully dry them using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
Divide the leaves into small, manageable portions for packaging. Consider using airtight freezer bags or containers for this. I would recommend dividing them based on the amount you'll use in a single meal.
Place the portions of moringa leaves in the freezer bags or containers, remove excess air, and seal them tightly. Label each bag or container with the date to keep track of freshness.
Put the sealed bags or containers in the freezer. You can freeze the leaves for several months.
To use the frozen moringa leaves, just take out the desired portion from the freezer and add them directly while cooking any moringa leaves recipe. It's not necessary to thaw them before using them.
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Bhindi Do Pyaza: simple and delicious spicy Indian stir-fried okra. It is a popular north Indian dish found on many restaurants' menus.
Potato Mushroom Curry: One-pot curry is so creamy and tastes so indulgent that it makes a healthy alternative to a weeknight dinner or simply a quick mid-week dinner.
Tomato kurma: a tomato-based tangy and mildly spiced curry that goes well with south Indian breakfast dishes and paratha.
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📖 Recipe Card
Oil-Free Moringa Leaves Curry
- Wash moringa leaves with water and keep it aside.2.5 cups (or) 85 gms Moringa Leaves
- In a small pan, dry roast peanuts on low heat for 3-4 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown and release nutty aroma.¼ cup (or) 40 gms Peanut
- Transfer them to a plate.
- Now in the same pan, dry roast red chillieson low heat for a minute or until it release pungent aroma.2 Red Chillies
- Turn the heat off, add cumin seeds and roast for few seconds.¼ Teaspoon Cumin
- Transfer them to a plate and let them cool down.
- Blend it in a spice blender to a coarse powder.
- In a deep skillet, combine drumstick leaves, salt and water.¼ - ⅓ cup Water, as required Salt, 2.5 cups (or) 85 gms Moringa Leaves
- Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until drumstick leaves are well cooked and water is completely absorbed. Keep stirring.
- Turn off the heat, add 2-3 teaspoon ground peanut-red chilli powder.
- Stir until well combined.
- Serve healthy and tasty moringa dry curry with chapati or rice and dal.
Tips & TricksDo not add too much water to cook moringa leaves. Overcooking turns moringa leaves bitter. To avoid overcooking, keep a glass of hot water aside. Just in case if more water is necessary, add a couple of tablespoons of water at a time whenever it is required while cooking. Keep stirring to ensure even cooking. ** Nutritional information provided here are estimated and for guidance only. Please refer my Recipe Disclaimer for more details.
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