Murungai keerai poriyal/Drumstick leaves stir fry

murungai poriyal

Murungai keerai poriyal is nothing but drumstick leaves stir fry. Keerai is the Tamil word for greens and poriyal means stir fry. It is one of the best dishes that you can make with drumstick leaves. It goes well with all South Indian rice dishes.

Most houses in Tamilnadu have a drumstick tree and a curry leaf plant if they have the space for it. Murungai or moringa as it is called outside India is considered a very valuable tree in our culture.

After coming to Qatar, I came to know that Filipinos too valued the drumstick tree. Somehow everyone had a tree in front of their house. I got to know from my Filipino neighbor that mostly they cook up the leaves with moong beans.

But she said they use only the leaves and not the drumstick pods. In fact, during the flowering season, her tree was full of drumsticks most of which simply dried and fell off.

I am used to the drumstick pods with which we make curries, stirfries, gravies, etc, and then the leaves with which a lot of recipes are made.

Murungai keerai /Drumstick leaves are loaded with a whole lot of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants apart from fiber. It contains good amounts of Iron, Calcium, and Potassium as well as Vitamins A, B, and C.

These days we get to see moringa in the form of teas, capsules, powders, and what not? Okay, for people who do not have access to fresh leaves. But if can source them fresh there is nothing like it.

Whenever we were anemic, mom used to make these greens for us. It helps a great deal in easing constipation. It is also compulsorily given after childbirth in our culture as it helps to enhance lactation.

And since these greens have lots of medicinal value, they are not consumed on a daily basis. Twice or thrice a week will do good. Also, it does not suit some people who end up with stomach-related issues. Avoid consuming in such cases.

Everyone loves these greens in our house but since we did not have a tree in our house we used to take it from our neighbors 🙂  . Usually, this Murungai keerai poriyal/Drumstick leaves stir fry or gravies with lentils are made.

Only the leaves are picked and the stems are discarded. Tender stems can be taken, but tough ones will not cook and you will end up with stomach issues. Cleaning is a chore still, try as much as possible to remove the stems.

These greens are slightly bitter which can be nullified by cooking with lentils or lentil stock.

Over to the recipe..

Murungai keerai poriyal/Drumstick leaves stirfry
Murungai keerai poriyal is a stir fry made using moringa or drumstick leaves a very healthy side dish to go with rice in South India.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Cleaning greens15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Poriyal, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Tamil
Keyword: How to use drumstick leaves, Moringa stir fry
Servings: 2 people
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 1 bunch Drumstick leaves(160g after cleaning)
  • 1 medium-sized big onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup tur dal stock
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • ½ tsp split urad dal
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • a few curry leaves
  • ¼ cup grated coconut( loosely packed)
  • Clean the drumstick leaves by picking the leaves alone and avoiding the stems as much as possible. Wash and keep them ready.
    Murungai keerai poriyal prep step 1
  • Chop the onion and garlic finely.
    Murungai keerai poriyal prep step 2
  • In a pan heat up the oil and add the mustard seeds, chana dal, split urad dal, and red chilly.
  • Once the mustard splutters add the chopped onion, garlic, and curry leaves and saute well.
    Murungai keerai poriyal prep step 3
  • Next, add the drumstick leaves. Saute for a few minutes till it reduces a bit in volume. Now add the required salt, turmeric powder, and the dal stock.
  • Mix well, cover, and cook till it is done. Finally, add the grated coconut and turn off the stove.
    Murungai keerai poriyal prep step 4
  • Serve as an accompaniment with rice.
    Murungai keerai poriyal prep step 5

Hema’s P.S

  • The addition of onion, chillies, and coconut is up to personal preference. The more the onions and coconut the tasty it becomes.
  • More liquid can be added if the leaves seem to be a bit matured.
  • I prefer to roughly chop the leaves, though most people do not.
  • If the bitterness still seems to persist, you can add a tbsp of cooked tur dal.
  • You will lose the green color if you cook for a long period of time.

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