The moringa (moringa oleifera) tree in my back garden is at its fertile best now. I have an abundance of pods, leaves and flowers – all of them edible. Not just edible, they are super-tasty! I have distributed dozens of pods to friends and neighbours. And I still have loads for my personal use. Moringa is considered a superfood. It is widely used in South, East and West India. However, I notice that it is hardly used in North India.
The interest in moringa has been growing over the last few years. But the demand is for the store-bought dry powder of the leaves. I may be wrong, but it is my belief that the fresh leaves are much more beneficial than the desiccated product. The moringa tree can be spotted at roadsides all over India. Therefore, using the fresh leaves should not be a problem.
Today, it is my pleasure to present a delicacy from South India. This is a savoury pancake that is often had for breakfast.
2 cups brown rice
1 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 tbsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
2 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
6 dried red chillies
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste
1 onion, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup coconut grating (optional)
1 cup moringa leaves
Separate the moringa leaves from the stems
Chop roughly and set aside
Soak the rice and dals for at least 4 hours (overnight, if it is winter)
Drain the water
Add asafoetida, red chillies and salt
Grind to a coarse paste
Add a little water to grind, if necessary (it should be a thick paste)
Add the moringa leaves to the batter
Add the chopped onions and coconut grating (if using)
Heat a tava (girdle)
Spread a ladle of this paste on the tawa and cook on medium heat. The batter is thick, so you should get a paranta-like (pancake-like) thickness.
Turn over and cook the other side
Repeat for remaining batter
Serve with your favourite chutney.