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Murungai Keerai Thuvattal (A rich subzi of the Drumstick Leaves)

June 12, 2015

Drumstick tree is very popular in the south. Apart from the vegetable Murungai (drumstick), we also consume its leaves (just like the paalak/spinach) rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. If you have a tree at home, its best to consume the greens of the drumstick tree even as often as once a week. Its a wholesome nutrition. Slightly bitter in taste, it can be made into a super subzi the right way.

(Murugai Kai, the drumstick, is the vegetable we also mostly add to our Sambhar.  Murungai Kai is known to improve the libido in men so its a must in youngsters’ weekly menu. (I shall post a Murungaikai recipe later). This recipe is for the Murungai leaves/greens which we treat like a kind of Paalak. Just like the banana tree and the coconut tree, every single part of the Murungai tree is useful to us. God makes very few creatures blessed like this.)


Murungai Keerai (Leaves of the drumstick tree/Drumstick leaves)

A small onion -grated fine

Garlic pod 1-2 crushed

Toor dal 1 tbsp – cooked but not mashed; the dal eye must be prominent. to get this consistency, do not pressure cook the dal, simply cook it in little water on rinsing and drain the excess water.

Coconut scrapings (frsh) – 1 tbsp (diabetics can avoid coconut)

Salt to taste


For tempering: 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, 1 tsp of urad dal split, 1-2 torn & deseeded red chillies  and 2-3 tsp of cooking oil


Picking the tiny Murungai leaves is not really bothersome. They fall freely even if the bunch is shook. The rest can be easily plucked out of the stems, a bunch at a time.

Rinse the murugai leaves in water & set aside.

Take a thick-bottomed kadai/wok and add a 2-3 tsps of oil to it.

Heat it and wait for the oil to reach the smoking point.

Temper with the mustard seeds and broken urad dal seeds and the dry red chillies on low flame.

When the seeds splutter, add the grated onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.

When the onion is golden brown, toss the washed Murungai/Drumstick leaves/greens and keep turning.

Add salt keeping in mind the greens will reduce to less than half portion of the original content on cooking. Salt with care accordingly.

Sprinkle a little water if necessary but mostly not needed.

Since the murungai leaves are very tiny, the greens will cook very fast.

Add the dal at this stage and keep turning. Take care not to mash either the dal or the greens.

Finally add the coconut scrapings, turn and mix well and switch off.

Keep the lid closed if you want the greens to be done a little more.

Now Murungai Keerai Thuvattal or Murungai Keerai Poriyal or Drumstick Leaves Subzi is ready to serve.

Won’t say its yummy but the slight bitterness is offset with the dal and the coconut scrapings.

Medical benefits: Murungai tree is very common in our backyard just like the coconut tree or the banana tree. But modern apartment life has made it impossible for most of us to grow this tree. Yet this is a very popular vegetable in our markets.  Regular inclusion of Murugai Keerai (drumstick greens) in our menu is good for our eyesight. 

Murungai Keerai is a traditional Indian Herbal medicine/Ayurvedic medicine/Siddha medicine. As Murungai trees grow mostly in our backyard, this is one vegetable I can vouch is totally safe and free 100% from harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Cheap & best & most nutritious food. Murungai is not cropped/cultivated commercially to my knowledge.


From → Vegetarian

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