Did you know that the blossoms of the moringa tree are edible? Not just edible, moringa flowers (called ‘murunga poo‘ in Tamil) are chock-full of health benefits, just like the pods and leaves of the tree are! It is not for nothing that the moringa is called a ‘miracle tree’ and that its pods, leaves and flowers are touted as ‘super foods’ the world over!
The flowers are quite tasty too, and lend themselves beautifully to various sweet and savoury preparations. Many parts of India have their own indigenous recipes using these flowers. The Bengalis have their Sojna Phool Posto (moringa flowers cooked in a poppy-seed paste), while the Sindhis have their Swanjhro (drumstick blossoms cooked with onions, tomatoes and black pepper). In Tamilnadu, these flowers are traditionally used to make Murunga Poo Poriyal, a simple stir-fry with coconut added in. People from Orissa use these flowers to make fritters, called Sohjne Phuler Bora. Modern-day cooks use these highly nutritious flowers in a variety of soups, daals and stir-fries. Why, I was surprised when I read about drumstick flowers being used to make a delectable kheer!
It was just a week or so ago that I had the chance to try out moringa flowers, for the first-ever time. Growing up, I never saw them in Ahmedabad, and they weren’t a common find in Bangalore after I shifted here. Having read about the various delicious things that one can do with these flowers, I tried searching high and low for them, at several places across Bangalore, a fruitless search that did not yield any results. So, imagine just how thrilled I would have been when, recently, my regular ‘soppu‘ seller asked me if I would like some drumstick flowers – just like that, out of the blue! I grabbed a bag of them, and got home hugging them close. When the time is right, the stars align, and all that jazz!
I used the drumstick flowers to make a traditional Tamilnadu-style Murunga Poo Poriyal, which I learnt from Amma. This turned out to be an extremely delicious, hearty affair that was much loved by everyone at home. It was such a breeze to make, and paired beautifully with the sambar rice I served it with.
Let’s now see how I made the Murunga Poo Poriyal, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 4):
- About 2-1/2 cups cleaned drumstick flowers
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon split urad daal
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 3-4 dry red chillies
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- About 1-1/2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1. Wash the drumstick flowers thoroughly to remove all traces of mud. Drain out the water from them.
2. Chop the drumstick flowers and onion finely. Keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Now, add the urad dal, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
4. Now, add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions turn brown.
5. Add the chopped drumstick flowers to the pan. Turn flame to medium.
6. Saute on medium flame for a minute or till the drumstick flowers start slightly wilting.
7. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.
8. Cook on medium heat till the drumstick flowers are cooked, 2-3 minutes. Stir intermittently.
9. Add in the fresh grated coconut. Mix well.
10. Cook on medium heat for half a minute more. Switch off gas. Your Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry is ready! Serve it hot or at room temperature along with sambar/rasam and rice.
1. Leave the drumstick flowers wrapped in a newspaper overnight, on the kitchen counter. Most flowers would have fallen off the stem in the morning, ready to be used in your cooking.
2. Ensure that all the drumstick flowers are removed from the stems before use.
3. Use fresh moringa flowers, for best results.
4. Adjust the amount of coconut you use in this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry, depending upon personal taste preferences.
5. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry.
6. The jaggery powder counters the slight bitterness that moringa flowers possess. So, do not skip using jaggery. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, as per personal taste preferences.
7. You may use sugar in place of jaggery powder. Personally, I prefer jaggery powder.
8. There is no need to cover the pan, while cooking this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry. You can cook it in an open pan, on medium heat, sprinkling a little water at intervals if you feel the stir-fry is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
Check out the other recipes using moringa on my blog!: