Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Murunga Keerai (Drumstick leaves with lentils) - Simple & Quick

Drum stick leaves are full of iron and in my opinion, taste better than other greens/spinach varieties. Back home, we used to have a beautiful garden around the house with drumstick tree, coconut trees, plantain trees, mehendi tree (mignonette tree), plants of vegetables like tomato, lady's finger, brinjal and some flowering plants like hibiscus and lilies. When I was a child, every morning, I used to walk around proudly in the garden, holding my dad's hand and marvelling at every single flower or vegetable that has flowered :) In the evenings, we enjoyed chit-chatting in the backyard with tea and hot snacks that amma keeps refilling our plates with, while we enjoy the breeze and sunset. That was a long time, 15 years ago!

My mom makes murunga keerai quite regularly and I love the way she makes it. It is gently spiced with coconut, green chillies, jeera and the addition of moong dal enhances the taste of the dish. I tried amma's recipe and I was glad that it tasted quite close to hers. Since this is not something you can get in restaurants, I enjoyed murunga keerai after a very long time. 

Murunga Keerai / Drumstick leaves cooked the Indian way

What She Uses - 

Drumstick leaves - 2 cups
Moong dal (Siru paruppu/ paasi paruppu) - 2 handfuls
Turmeric powder / Haldi - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp - to temper
Salt - to taste

To Grind Together -

Coconut (Grated) - 5 tbsp

Green chillies - 3 
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp

How She Makes It -

Tip~ Removing the drumstick leaves from the stalk is a painful process and it doesn't seem to end forever. But you can save time by getting help from your partner and get this boring chore done while watching TV ^_^ 
Once this is done, the rest of the recipe is super-simple and quick!

  • Cook moong dal with 3 times water. Moong Dal is easy to get cooked so you can do it without a pressure cooker, just using a pot with lid. 
  • Salt the water. 
  •  When water starts boiling, add the keerai, i.e., drumstick leaves.
  • Add turmeric. It is said to kill bacteria and other harmful germs/pesticide that could be present in the leaves. In fact, I add turmeric to Cauliflower and Broccoli also for the same reason.
  • Dal and drumstick leaves do take too long to get cooked. Around 10-15 minutes. 
  • Strain the water and save it to drink later as clear soup :)
  • Now, take a kadai, heat 1 tsp oil, allow mustard seeds to splutter.
  • Grind together coconut, green chillies and jeera to a paste and add that.
  • Add the cooked keerai + dal next and mix well. 

That's about it :) In 20 minutes or less, you have a nutritious dish ready to eat n serve


  1. Yeah...murunga keerai is very good for health...we dont do this stuff often..

  2. I have an excuse here that I don't find it so easily :P

  3. Amma makes this yummy murunga elai adai, and your pic just reminded me of that!

  4. Wow! Adai with murunga elai? That sounds yummilicious :)

  5. I see this a lot in Little India whenever I go but never picked it up because of the trouble to pluck the leaves separate. This always me of my grandmom though, and her patience to do that picking :)

    Will get some next time I go, for sure! You have motivated me :)


Did you like it? Found something interesting? Do you have a alternate way of doing it? Please leave a line here. Thanks!


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