Trend Talk: Moringa or Murungai is the New Super Food Ingredient

moringatreeMoringa or Murungai  is the new super food of 2016. Known as drumstick in English, its botanical name is Moringa Oleifera.  Himalayas holds the best of nature and many herbs find its origin here, be it seabuck thorn, noni, goji berry, every product from this part of the world is unique in its own way. Moringa is also native of the Himalayan foothills. Whole world  has realized the potential of moringa and we have farms in US specifically developed to cultivate moringa and capsules, powders, oils made of Moringa  leaves are on hot sale.

We hardly care about this super food and it is nothing surprising for people in India and specifically south India who have always used it as a part of their normal diet.  Be it as a pod or as leaves, we find so many recipes in our cuisine.  A bit more on the nutrition side, moringa/ murungai leaves have excess of  iron, vitamins, potassium, calcium, fibre more than spinach, carrots, banana,  milk and oats respectively. It is a good cure for asthma, inflammation and is an anti oxidant, anti microbial, anti diabetic and many more positive effects are under research.

murungai

Commonly seen as an addition in south Indian sambhar, murungai kai (pod) is combined with sambhar onions to make an aromatic and yummy.  It is pretty common to see mothers having a big bunch of moringa leaves in the evening and cleaning it. When we do take it from the tree, the common advice is take the tender ones because the mature ones are difficult to cook and comparatively fare lesser in aroma.  The cleaning process usually means removing the stems and taking the leaves alone as the stem do not cook even when steamed in a pressure cooker leading to indigestion when consumed.

There are three types of moringa – Red, White and Black. What we see in Tamilnadu and specifically in Chennai is the Red and White varieties.  Red moringa is also known as Madhu Shigru.  Moringa leaves should not be consumed during menstrual periods and if suffering from gastritis.

moringaREDWHITE

Red Moringa Leaves in the  Left, White Moringa Leaves in the Right

We just could not keep wondering and appreciating on the foresight of our ancestors who made moringa as a  tree in the backyard and its leaves and pod as a part of our regular meal.  Sadly, many trees of moringa have been cut down and we have been pushed to the situation where we have to search and buy this pod at a price.  Naturally, getting the leaves which was used like other keerai  (amaranth) in our cooking is nowhere to be seen unless we come across some home who have this tree at the back.

One of the main reasons for many cutting down the tree has been the infestation with caterpillars for the gum that is generated by the tree.  The simple solution is to cut the tree at the trunk without leaves once the flowering season ends. Fresh branches and leaves develop and then we have the season again.

There is also another variety called Mullu Murungai and only its leaves are used in cooking.

We will follow this post with few authentic and traditional Murungai and mullu murungai leaves recipes

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Posted on January 9, 2016, in Food, Health, lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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