The kelor or drumstick tree is a popular garden tree in both India as well as Sri Lanka and the Tamil areas. Known as Moringa oleifara, it is becoming increasingly popular for it’s medicinal value. The leaves of the Moringa tree are rich in vitamins A and c and a cupful of leaves provides more than the recommended daily requirement. They are rich in calcium and iron and are also a very good source of phosphorus.
The drumstick fruits are in long pods (hence the name) and are extremely popular among Tamils, as are the leaves. Being a rich source of protein, drumstick is cooked as part of a new mother’s special diet.
All parts of the tree are useful – the fruit, the leaves, the flowers – which are made into delicious, nutritious ‘vadaham’ or crispy snacks – pg 45, ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils’.
Photo taken last night at a Tamil spice shop in Wimbledon, London. London is home for the next few months (till March 2017).
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
3/4 tbsp oil (olive oil fine)
3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (Varying the quantity of this will make a big difference to the taste. Any more than is required will result in a bitter taste. I have messed this up a number of times).
3/4-1 tsp sea salt. (We made this twice with 1 tsp and thought it was delicious – but some people may prefer less salt).
1.5 tsp curry powder
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1 large drumstick. (While in London I realised that the drumsticks in Australia are different in size. In London they are imported and are smaller in size. I was unable to replicate this recipe in London – I always got the quantities mixed up. When I get back to Australia in May, I am going to weigh the drumstick quantity).
1/2 medium onion diced
1 sprig curry leaves
3-4 green chillies cut 1/2 lengthways
1. Cut drumstick into 2inch length pieces and place in a bowl of water. See video below.
2. Heat oil in a pan.
3. When oil is heated, add onions and green chillies.
4. When onions turn golden, add fenugreek seeds, curry powder and sea salt.
5. Add drumsticks, coconut milk and water on full heat. Once the curry begins to boil, cover the curry and reduce heat. It should take about 15 min for the curry to reduce down and for the flesh of the drumstick to soften.
6. Add curry leaves and remove from stove.
ps – the song playing in the background is ‘neeye’ composed by Phani Kalyan, with a stunning dance sequence to go with it. Check it out on Thamarai here.