The humble drumstick or moringa that is grown so commonly in India has a rather uncommon trait that is being rediscovered slowly but surely. Well this is a super food and a home grown one that has so many health benefits that it packs a solid punch.
The Tree of Life
As a power packed food, moringa leaves provide nutrients like proteins, vitamins and minerals. The best part is that in India, this is easily available and also economical. With increased focus on sourcing food locally, moringa is arguably the answer to a powerful health option that can easily be part of your daily diet. Interestingly the pods and the leave are both edible and incidentally this food is seeing renewed interest in India and the West too. “This superfood received a fillip when in 2008 the US National Institute of Health named it “the plant of the year” acknowledging that this plant had the potential to not only reverse multiple environmental issues but also provide for many unmet human nutritional needs. Its products are proven to have antibiotic, antispasdomic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties,” says Fiona Arakal, Executive Director, Ishka Farms.
Moringa is said to have the ability to help lower blood sugar levels as it has plant compounds like isothiocyanates. Likewise it has Quercetin a powerful antioxidant that helps to lower blood pressure. It also has anti-inflammatory effects again due to isothiocyanate compounds. Moringa leaves contain protein, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Iron, Riboflavin, Vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and Magnesium. In fact the growing interest in moringa has seen the West adapt to it in the form of dried leaves and powders as well! The pods of the tree have a high content of vitamin C. The plant is also said to have the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, reducing the related risk of heart disease. One of the best benefits is its ability to boost your immunity and being high in protein it is great for vegans and vegetarians as they have limited protein sources in their food. As it has a good percentage of fibre it not just aids in digestion but also helps in weight control as the fibre keeps you full for a longer time. So if you are looking for a super food, do not look at pricey international ones. Rather look in your back yard and you will find moringa – the answer to the nutritional supplement you wanted!
Here are a few recipes from Ishka Farms.
Moringa Leaf Chutney Rice (Serves 2)
100g *Dry Moringa Leaf
50ml Coconut oil
10g Roasted channa dal
10g Curry Leaf
5g Dry red chilly
20g Grated coconut
100g Basmati rice
2g Mustard seeds
* if using moringa powder, use the same quantity but add it as a paste after cooking the shallot, ginger, coconut , curry leaf paste well. It just needs to be heated through.
Boil basmati rice and keep aside till cool.
To make chutney:
Grind together Moringa Leaf, shallots, ginger, grated coconut, half the curry leaves and salt. Heat coconut oil in pan. Crackle mustard seeds, red chilly and curry leaf. Add the ground chutney into it and saute well. Add the boiled rice mix well. Season with salt and black pepper.
Moringa Leaf Cheese Cake (Serves 2)
20 gms Dry Moringa Leaf
50 Mascapone Cheese
3 gms gelatin
20 gms Icing sugar
25 gms Whipped cream
10 gms Sponge cake cut into 6cm diameter
Soak the gelatin in two tablespoons of room temperature water. Blend the cheese and icing sugar together. Add the soaked gelatin and Moringa Leaf / Moringa paste. Fold in the whipped cream and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Place the sponge at the base of a 6 cm round tin where the sides can be opened to slide the set cheesecake out or one in which the base is detachable. Gently pour the mixture on top of the sponge and allow it to refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve cold.
Moringa Leaf ‘N Prawn Curry (Serves 4)
100 gms dry Moringa Leaf
10 peeled and deveined Prawns
2 gms mustard seed
50ml Coconut oil
100 gms Shallots
10 gms Red chilly
50 gms Ginger
50 gms Curry Leaf
20 gms Green chillies
2 gms Turmeric powder
5 gms Chilly powder
2 gms Pepper powder
20 ml Coconut paste
Salt to taste
Heat coconut oil in a shallow pan. Crack mustard seeds, sauté ginger and garlic. Add sliced shallots, green chilli and curry Leaf. Sauté till golden brown and add red chilli, turmeric and pepper powder, heat through. Add a splash of water and salt. When this boils, add the dry Moringa Leaf and prawns to it. If using Moringa powder, add it to the coconut paste and combine it in the pan when the prawns are almost cooked through. Serve hot with rice, appam or idiyappam.
This story appeared in Deccan Herald’s Living supplement dated 28th Oct, 2017 here.