Sunday, January 04, 2009

Muringya Ela/ Drumstick Leaves Kuzhambu

In all the years I lived in the windy city I was never able to lay my hands on the elusive muringya ela/ Drumstick leaves. I would substitute it with collard greens which surprisingly had a very similar texture when cooked. So imagine my happiness when I finally held high in my hands a bunch of leaves that caused many around me to wonder if I had just lost some vital instrument high above my shoulders. Well, I guess this simple muringya ela is more commonly available in Indian grocery stores in the California. So now you know what is soon going to be a staple at my place.

This is a very simple recipe that is very easy make and tastes heavenly.


Tuvaram Parippu/ Tuar Dal - 1/2 cup
Drumstick leaves - 1 1/2 cups
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized chopped
Garlic - 2 pods sliced into halves
Chili powder -1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 heaped tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Puli vellam / tamarind Juice - from lime sized puli

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Venthiyam/ ulluva / Fenugreek seeds - few seeds
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

Make tamarind juice out of 1 cup of lukewarm water and a lime sized ball of tamarind. If you have tamarind paste, add 1 tsp to the water.

This whole dish can be made in a regular heavy bottom pan, but for speed and convenience I cook it in a pressure cooker.

To make the whole dish in a pressure cooker, heat your pressure cooker and add 1 tsp of oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions, garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Then the dry ingredients like chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder. After 2 minutes add the washed Tuar Dal and the drumstick leaves and add water enough to cover the leaves and Dal, about 2 cups. Close the lid and cook on low heat for up to 4 whistles. Switch off the heat and let it cool until all the steam has dissipated and you can open the cooker.
Now nicely mash the Dal and the leaves. The put it back on the stove on low flame and add the tomato, salt and tamarind juice. Let it boil for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
To add the tempering in a separate saute pan add 1 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, urad dal and jeera and then pour it over the kuzhambu.
Serve hot with rice and ghee.

If you are making the dish in a pan instead of a pressure cooker the recipe is the same except you would need to cook the Dal either separately until soft and mashable or you can cook it in the same pan but the time will be considerably longer. I would definitely recommend pressure cook the Dal. If you are pressure cooking the Dal and the leaves separately then make sure you boil the leaves with the onions for at least 1/2 on low heat. Once that is done add the cooked Dal and follow the rest of the recipe similar to above.

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