Moringa Leaves Recipes |  South Indian Recipes |  Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry Recipe
Of the many rules I make (and bend/break), one thing I have been pretty consistent in keeping, is incorporating a leafy greens based dish every 2-3 days. Ideally, you want to eat greens daily insists my mom. Well, I am not there yet but far better than what I was before. So given this situation, you realize you need multitude of greens and variety of recipes to keep not only the cook but the family interested as well.  This quest of searching for different greens led me to this goldmine. Asking around revealed a new Indian grocery store in my area and a random visit during noon proved a blessing where I was welcomed by these Drumstick Leaves. I have not been lucky when it came to finding them all this while in the US. In the rare cases that I have found them, their condition was deplorable. This time I was gifted with freshest looking leaves.
Moringa Leaves Recipes |  South Indian Recipes |  Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry Recipe
If you already know these, then you wouldn't question my enthusiasm. But for those not in the know, Drumstick Leaves (Moringa / murungai Keerai) is (probably) the most nutritious of all greens.  Ayurvedic belief insists that regular consumption of Moringa leaves could possibly save you from cartloads of diseases  and keep you healthy. This infograph will provide you an idea of how valuable this green is in our day to day lives. For those interested to know more, please refer this website for more details.
Moringa Leaves Recipes |  South Indian Recipes |  Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry Recipe
Now that you are satisfied and possibly as excited as me at my find, lets get into this recipe highlighting the taste of this green. It has a bite to it, slightly bitter/ horseradish kind of flavor. The bitterness reduces when cooked along with suitable companions. Adding some butter/ghee enhances the flavor even more so.  If you are starting out, I would suggest trying it out via some simple dal like Methi Dal (use these leaves instead of methi) or adding it to a lentil batter like Adai, which trust me is simply mind blowing!
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Yields: As a part of a main course along with one other side dish, this easily serves up to 4-6 people
  • 280 grams bunch Drumstick Leaves (Murungai Keerai), see Tips
  • 1/3 Cup Moong Dal
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal (split Black gram)
  • 1-2 Red Chilli
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Lemon Juice to taste
1. Drumstick Leaves: I had a roughly large bunch weighing around 280 grams. The leaves alone including the tender stems weighed approximately 150 grams (6oz). Depending on your taste preferences you can increase or decrease the amount of moong dal in this recipe. You can increase especially if  trying to mask the slight bitterness of the drumstick leaves.
1. Soak the moong dal in some water overnight or at least 1-2 hours. This step is optional but soaking not only aids digestion but also reduces the cooking time significantly. If you are short on time you can start cooking immediately without soaking as well.
2. Drain and add this to a saucepan. Add enough water (abt a cup) along with turmeric.
3. Cook in med-high flame, allow it to boil and cook until just soft.
4. You don't want it mushy.  If you have soaked the lentils, then check around the 6-8 minute mark. Take a cooked moong dal and press it with your fingers, it should be soft enough to press easily.
5. At this stage, remove the cooked moong dal from flame and drain. Retain any water leftover.
6. Remove the drumsticks leaves from the stem. You can use the tender stems.  Wash and give it a rough chop.
7. Heat oil in a pan ( I use the same pan used to cook my dal)  and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds sputter, add split urad dal and broken red chilli and fry them till the dal turns golden brown. Add cumin and when the aroma hits,
8. add the chopped leaves along with and salt and mix well.
9. Add  about 1/2 cup of retained dal water ( otherwise just use water) and allow the leaves to cook completely. The leaves will cook quickly but will not become mushy or slimy.
10. Lower heat and then add cooked dal.
11. Mix well and season with additional salt if needed and lots of pepper powder.
12. Stir to combine, switch the flame and squeeze some fresh lemon juice to taste.
Serve warm along with any South Indian main course menu like Sambar, Kuzhambu and Rasam. Don't forget a healthy dose of freshly homemade ghee to along with it :) Moringa Leaves Recipes |  South Indian Recipes |  Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry Recipe

Recipe Reference

slightly adapted version of my mom's recipe

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By AKSHAY KUMAR on Sep 8, 2019


By Nidhi on Apr 8, 2018

Tried these leaves for the first time and loved your recipe. Keep up the good work.

Thank you Nidhi for leaving me a feedback. I am happy that you liked it :) --DK

By YASUA on Apr 3, 2018

Amazing website

By Smitha on Mar 25, 2018

Thank you for the recipe. My family loved it. I was looking for some recipes without fresh coconut as my son is allergic to coconut.

So glad that it worked great for you Smitha :) Thank you for leaving me this feedback. --DK

By Denise on Mar 18, 2018

I have a moringa tree in my garden (Caribbean) and I have been looking for recipes to utilize them in smoothies and as a veg and I came across your recipe. I don't have mung beans, but I'm looking forward to trying this recipe when I get the ingredients

By Smitha on Jan 25, 2018

Thank you for the recipe. It was delicious and I didn't add any

By Krithika on May 23, 2017

While searching for Murunga Keerai recipe, I came across your recipe and also this where I think your pic has been used. Thought I will let you know. Love your site and recipes.

Thank you so much Krithika for your love and for sending me the link. Appreciate it :) --DK

By Kareena on Mar 9, 2017

I am interested in adding Drumstick leaves to my family's Diet. Please send me the pdf of this recipe without images. Where can I buy FRESH Drumstick leaves (at least once a month). Should I use the Drumstick Powders available on

I dunno where you are placed, but in the Bay Area we find it in Indian Grocery and in Chinese Stores like Ranch Market. I have never used the commercial powders hence have no idea about them. --DK

By Durga on Sep 8, 2016

No need to add green chillies or red chilly powder

You can if you like. It all comes down to your taste preferences:) --DK

By Marc on Sep 7, 2016

I came to your post through a circuitous route and I'm glad I found it. I'm lightly involved in a group called Slow Money Northern California, and one of the people that attends meetings is hawking an energy bar that contains moringa powder (superfood!!!). So I had the word in my mind when I noticed that one of the farmers market stands sells moringa leaves (grown in the Fresno, California area), so I bought a bunch without knowing much about them (except: superfood!!!). I used to do a quick search of food blogs, found your post, and tried your recipe. I was in a hurry so I used quick-cooking masoor dal, which cooked down a lot more than mung dal would, but the dish still turned out well. The moringa leaves are quite easy to strip off their stems (a lot easier than, sweet potato leaves or water spinach), though they seemed to stick to everything around my cutting board. The flavor of the finished dish was great and will be one of the standard ways I cook the leaves in the future. I'll be posting about moringa leaves in the future and will link to your recipe.

Thank you so much for the feedback. Moringa is def. a cherished green in our cuisine and we tend to use it regularly - either the leaves or the vegetable, that we call as Drumstick. --DK

By Vijay on Nov 6, 2015

Looks nice will try it out

By Melanie on Sep 1, 2015

I made this; it was delicious! Thank you!

Thank you :) --DK

By Rshri on Aug 27, 2015

Wow. I love drumstick leaves. But my bad, I haven't seen this in our area. Its been 3yrs since I had this in india..

By Fareeha - faskitchen on May 13, 2015

I have never tried murunga keerai with dal.. looks like a lovely combination.. Gotta try this soon

By Anusha Praveen on May 7, 2015

Nutrition no nutrition who cares? I love murungakeerai any ways. And that handi is making my tummy growl

By traditionallymodernfood on Apr 16, 2015

Healthy side dish looks yummy

By Parveen Kaur on Apr 16, 2015

Where can I find these leaves or any other name or can i find these at Chinese or a South Indian grocers . I am also a veg freek and do my best to follow good recipes to a good health . Thx for this recipe. Will hunt for these !

By Fatima Pais on Apr 15, 2015

This sounds so good, I am going to try it. Have cooked drumsticks before, never knew the leaves could be eaten too!