Off recently there has been a lot of buzz about moringa and it’s health benefits. Moringa or drumsticks, is one of the healthiest vegetables known in Ayurveda for thousands of years. It’s fresh leaves and fruit pods/stalks are consumed in India specially south of India on a daily basis in sambar, a veggie stew, as a side veggie or in other recipes.
With all the buzz around I had to do a bit of digging around. Moringa is widely grown and eaten in India, Africa and many Asian countries. And now it’s grown in many subtropical parts of the US, I read it’s fairly easy to grow too, so if you have a green thumb give it a shot. For the rest of us who can’t grow their own tree Moringa is available fresh in warmer months at Asian and Indian grocery stores at a fairly reasonable price compared to the steep price one pays for freeze dried powder. Seriously stop by your local Indian grocery store and buy fresh in season or frozen for a couple $.
Moringa is an excellent detoxifier. Its known to cleanses the liver, blood, skin when consumed regularly. Nutrition wise it’s high in iron, calcium, potassium vitamin A And C, protein, antioxidant, anti inflammatory.
A little caution and notes:
- It’s best to avoid moringa if you are pregnant or give it to infants as it’s a powerful detoxifier. It’s best to consult a doctor.
- According to Ayurvedic medicine drinking pure moringa juice for detoxification is also not recommended as it can cause liver crisis.
- To reap the maximum benefit from moringa stalks/ fruit it’s important to eat it with some form of starchy food like potato, taro, pulses or lentils.
- For leaves simply pick fresh leaves, look for small bright green leaves on branches. Pull the delicate leaves and use like spinach. They are very mild and taste pretty much like spinach.
- Moringa leaves are about 5 times more potent than dried powder or it’s stalks so eat in moderation.
For 4 cup serving
- 1 1/2 cups moringa leaves, if you can’t find fresh leaves use 4-5 stalks fresh or frozen**
- 3-4 medium sized taro root bulbs peeled and sliced, save a few for garnish
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or organic ghee
- 2 tablespoons spilt red lentils washed and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 hot green chili chopped optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- juice from half a lemon
In a soup or largish pot add the spices, leaves, taro root slices ( save a few for garnish) and vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes till taro is soft and lentils are cooked and soft.
Meanwhile warm oil in a small pan and fry the taro slices in olive oil or ghee till crispy like chips.
Take the pot off the heat, cool slightly, transfer to a high speed blender and process till smooth. Reheat the soup and serve garnished with taro chips and few drops of lemon juice.
**If you are using stalks, pulse a few times till the stalks are crushed but not puréed. Strain it back into the pot, press through to extract all the pulp/soft stuff. You should be left with a bunch of fiberous stalks.