Have you ever tried out Murunga Elai Podi, a South Indian-style chutney powder made with moringa aka drumstick leaves? Extremely delish, extremely healthy, I tell you!
I have often waxed eloquent about the many health benefits that moringa possesses. Not only the leaves of the tree, but also the pods and flowers are edible, and all of them are extremely nutritious too. It is no wonder that moringa – murungai in Tamil – is considered a ‘super food’ the world over. Hence, moringa features regularly on our dining table, in various ways. Murunga Elai Podi ranks among the top favourite ways of our family to consume this wonder food!
I make this chutney powder following the same proceedure as that for my mom’s Thengai Podi. It is a burst of flavours – slightly sweet and tangy and spicy – and goes wonderfully well with steamed rice, idlis and dosas alike. Only 1 teaspoon of oil goes into it – isn’t that awesome?
Here is how I make the Murunga Elai Podi or Moringa Leaves Chutney Powder.
Ingredients (yields about 1-1/2 cups):
- 3 cups fresh moringa leaves (murunga elai)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 cup chana daal (kadalai paruppu)
- 1/4 cup urad daal (ulutham paruppu)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (ellu)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (thengai)
- A pinch of fenugreek seeds (menthiyam)
- 8-10 dry red chillies (vara milagai)
- A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind (puli)
- Salt to taste (uppu)
- 2 generous pinches of asafoetida (perungayam)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3-4 tablespoons of jaggery powder
- Wash the moringa leaves well under running water a couple of times. Then, place in a colander and drain out all the water from them. Place on a cotton towel, and pat dry, then spread them out on another cotton towel and allow them to sun-dry for a couple of hours. They are ready to be used when completely dry, with no hint of moisture to them.
- Remove all seeds and impurities from the tamarind. Keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chana daal, urad daal, dry red chillies, sesame seeds and fenugreek seeds. Dry roast on medium heat till the daals begin to turn brown and emit a lovely fragrance. This should take 2-3 minutes. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
- Now, add the grated coconut to the pan, and roast on medium flame for a minute. Take care to ensure that the ingredients in the pan do not burn. Transfer all the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
- Add the dried moringa leaves to the pan. Dry roast on medium heat till the leaves shrink and become crisp. Transfer to the plate with the other roasted ingredients. Keep aside, and allow to cool down fully.
- Break the tamarind roughly and add the pieces to the same hot pan. Without switching the gas on, dry roast the tamarind for a minute. It will get slightly crisp in the residual heat of the pan. Keep aside, and allow to cool down fully.
- When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a medium-sized mixer jar – the roasted moringa leaves, chana daal, urad daal, dry red chillies, sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, coconut and tamarind. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, asafoetida and jaggery powder. Mix the ingredients up. Grind to a coarse powder. Your Murunga Elai Podi is ready!
- Allow the Murunga Elai Podi to cool down entirely, and then transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.
- Leave the bunch of fresh moringa leaves wrapped in newspaper or in a paper bag, overnight, at room temperature. By the next morning, most of the leaves would have fallen off the stem, ready to use. This is one of the easiest ways to use moringa leaves.
- I use a mix of the long, shrivelled Bydagi chillies and the small, round, fat Salem Gundu chillies to make this Murunga Elai Podi. Bydagi chillies are relatively less spicy, while Salem Gundu chillies are quite hot. A mix of two evens out the taste of the podi for us.
- You can leave out the tamarind and jaggery while preparing this Murunga Elai Podi. I do add them, because it suits my family’s taste buds.
- Do ensure that the ingredients do not burn while roasting.
- Make sure all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, before you use them in making the Murunga Elai Podi.
- Make sure you grind the roasted ingredients coarsely and not make a fine powder. Coarsely ground podi tastes way better than the fine version.
- I have used fresh coconut in making this podi. You can use dry coconut (kopparai) instead, too.
- Adjust the quantity of tamarind, salt, dry red chillies and jaggery you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
- If stored and used hygienically, the Murunga Elai Podi stays well for 5-6 days at room temperature. In hotter climates, the shelf life might go down. Refrigeration will increase the shelf life further.
- This Murunga Elai Podi can be consumed with hot steamed rice and ghee. It can also be served with idlis and/or dosas.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
Check out the other recipes using moringa on my blog!: