Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Drumstick Masala - Murungakkai Masala Curry

Drumsticks the vegetable is ubiquitous all over South India with a mandatory tree in every back yard. Known by its scientific name as Moringa Oleifera is a drought resistant tree that produces its long drumstick like vegetable profusely. The fantastic thing about this tree is, almost all parts are edible, the highly nutritious leaves, the flowers and of course the vegetable. Did you know? the leaves are usually added to the butter when making ghee and then filtered out. It makes the ghee smell so very good.

If you have not tasted drumstick sambhar then you have not tasted real sambhar at least in my opinion. A little painful to eat with its fibrous outside skin with the succulent meat inside but once you develop a liking for it is no trouble at all. It is not to me but the kids complain about what a nuisance it is to eat but never about the taste.

When I was little drumstick was easily my favorite vegetable. While it was mostly used in sambhar and it almost like they were made for each other it cam be cooked in a variety of ways. My most favorite dish is a dryish curry with a thick masala and of course it has to be spicy. Mixed with rice it is heaven on a plate. It is also perfect side for chappathis or rotis.

What happens when you travel for a length of time is you start craving for familiar foods and this recipe is what kept calling to me.
Unlike back home fresh drumstick is almost non existent. Rarely when it is available, they are not really all that fresh. They are dry and don't have much flavor. I have survived on frozen drumstick for over a decade now. Canned ones used to be available but I much prefer the frozen ones.

I used a pressure cooker which quickly cooks up the drumsticks. Cooking on the stove top take a bit longer perhaps.

Other recipes with drumsticks
1.Gravied Drumsticks
2.Potatoes, Eggplants and Drumsticks in a hot and sour gravy
3.Spicy Drumstick Stir Fry
4.Drumstick Sambhar

Heat oil in a saute and saute the ingredients for the masala. Cool and blend to a paste with the addition of less than 1 tbsp of water.
In pressure pan heat oil and add the seasonings followed by the onions. Saute till the onions start to turn translucent. Add tomatoes and saute till mushy. Add the drumstick and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add the ground masala and the turmeric and about 1/2 cup of water, salt and mix well.
Pressure cook for about 1 whistle or 8 minutes whichever comes first.

Drumstick Masala - Murungakkai Masala Curry
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes (using pressure cooker) - 40 minutes stove top
  1. 2-3 cups of cut drumsticks about 2 1/2 inches long
  2. onions - finely chopped about 1/4 cup
  3. tomatoes - 1/4 cup finely chopped
  4. seasonings - curry leaves - 3 sprigs (the more the better), 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and mustard seeds
  5. 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  6. salt to taste
  7. 2 tsp of oil
  8. For the Masala
  9. red onions/shallots - 1/2 cup chopped
  10. 4-5 garlic cloves
  11. 3 tbsp of grated fresh or frozen coconut
  12. 6-8 red chilies
  13. 1 tbsp of coriander powder

  1. Heat a tsp of oil in a saute pan and when the oil is hot add the onions and garlic and saute till they turn brown. Add in the red chilies and saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the coriander powder and coconut and saute for another minute. Turn off the heat, cool and blend to a paste with the addition of about 1 tbsp of water. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wide mouthed pan or a pressure pan and heat 1 tsp of oil. Add the seasonings, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes till it is translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy.
  5. Add the drumsticks, saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add the turmeric powder,salt and the ground masala paste along with 1/2 cup of water and mix it in well.
  6. Cover the lid and cook for one whistle or about 8 minutes.
  7. Perfect with steamed white rice or with any type of Indian breads.

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  1. That's a good masala you got there for the's the only sambar my kids seem to it's drumstrick sambar twice a week at home..the other dish I make is with simple onion and tomato..your masala sounds interesting will try it sometime..

  2. Oh ISG, now you are really making me pine away for the Indian grocery -- I have sleuthed out many ingredients here but there will be no frozen drumsticks until spring :(

    Sambhar looks so delicious!!


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