Kumari’s Mutton & Drumstick Curry

Kumari, Mum’s helper, brought a gift of six fresh, bright green murungakas – as they are called in Tamil – with the injunction, complete with recipe, that I was to take it to Singapore and cook it for Mum, with mutton.The murungas had been gathered from her garden, and from the tree across the wall, from her neighbour’s garden.

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Murungai is the fruit of the Moringa oleifera tree (family Moringaceae) and its long thin seed pods resemble drumsticks, hence the name.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.57.08 PMMoringa leaves are popular in South Indian cooking, containing as it does, all of the essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins. But this is the first time I had heard of the seed pods being cooked with meat and it sounded interesting and I gave it a try. It was delicious.


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  • 1 1/2 kilos of mutton, cleaned and cubed
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 drumsticks, fresh, in 2 1/2″ lengths
  • Garam masala powder or 1/2″ of broken cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 3 pods cardamom, a scant teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • Chili powder
  • Dhaniya (coriander) powder
  • Haldi (turmeric) powder
  • Salt
  1. Boil the drumstick pieces in a little water mixed with salt and turmeric powder, till just done, still firm. Keep aside.
  2. In hot oil (in a pressure cooker) sputter the garam masala and as the fragrance is released, add the onion and fry.
  3. When translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste, fry till aromatic. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry to a paste.
  4. Add the mutton and the powders, stir well, add a bit of water and pressure cook till just done.
  5. Open, add the cooked drumstick pieces and the coconut milk and give it a swirl. Let it heat up and dish out and serve with steaming hot basmati rice.

Murunga leaves (moringa in both Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia / Malay) are particularly good for health and googled images provide details.

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This is one dish that will return to the table. Definitely. Apart from the various made with the leaves.

Images googled off the net, with thanks.


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