Panchali the demure had just finished serving the Pandavas lunch. She had finished her meal, too. That’s when the Lord of Compassion, Sri Krishna, made an unplanned visit to His dear Pandavas home that day.

Life in exile was ridden with penury. Omniscient Sri Krishna was aware of Panchali’s quite suffering in exile. Pandavas welcomed Sri Krishna with all their love but Panchali didn’t come out of her kitchen. She sat there and wept silently as she had nothing left in her bowl to offer to Sri Krishna.

Krishna went into Panchali’s kitchen, grabbed the empty bowl, and looked inside. He found a single moringa leaf inside the bowl. He took it out with great love and ate it, and let out a burp of fullness and satisfaction. In that moment, the entire universe felt satiated. The great Lord of Compassion blessed Panchali that her bowl will never be empty again; it will be ‘Akshaya Patra’, the inexhaustible vessel of food. He thus ended Pachali’s struggle for food during their exile.

Cut to today, we know we are going through a time in history that needs a lot of contemplation on our parts. We must feel gratitude for everything we have. Sustainability is the mantra we need to follow, if we want to overcome these difficult times of scarcity of food and every other facility. We don’t have any Akshaya Patra. We must treat our resources with reverence and mindfulness. We must strive to undo the damage done to Mother Nature in the name of progress.

Let us take a look at the hidden gem of a leaf that He found in Panchali’s bowl:
Moringa Olifera, a plant also known as drumstick, and is found in the Himalayas. A single moringa leaf contains 92 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, 18 amino acids, 6 essential amino acids. It also contains vitamins BI, B2, B3, B6, B7, A, C, K, E, and D. Thus, it is known to enhance skin health, energy, and endurance, hair growth, vision, and it reduces BP, as it is anti-inflammatory,
anti-cholesterol, antidepressant, and antioxidant. This wonder plant also has anti-ageing, anti-ulcer, and wound healing capacities. It controls sugar level, reduces appetite. The leaves also increase mental clarity and reduce constipation. Now we know why Panchali cooked these wonder leaves during exile.

Not just the leaves, in fact, all parts of moringa are rich in nutrients, and have medicinal values. Here are some moringa recipes: 

Moringa Leaves Thoran

(Serves 4 to 5)

  • A  small bunch of moringa leaves.
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • Curry leaves
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of coconut oil.
  • Salt
  • Pluck the moringa leaves from the stem.  Clean well. Finely  chop the leaves, onion, green chilli and garlic. Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Allow spluttering. Add chopped vegetables and curry leaves. Saute well. Make a coarse paste of coconut and spices. Add the coconut paste to the kadai along with half a glass of water. Add salt. Slow cook with the lid on. Stir in between. Once the moringa leaves are well-cooked, remove from flame.
  • Eat with rice, curd, pickles and papad. Moringa has an astringent taste and is yummy. 

Moringa Leaves  Coconut  Curry

(Serves 4) 

  • 4 cups moringa leaves  
  • 1 cup grated coconut 
  •  1/2  teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  •  1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  •  1 teaspoon red chilly powder 
    For Tempering:
  •  2 teaspoon cooking oil 
  •  1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
  • 2 dry red chillies 
  •  2 chopped shallots 
  • Few sprigs of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Wash and clean moringa leaves. Chop finely. Sauté moringa leaves in a pan with two teaspoons of coconut oil.
  • Make a fine paste of coconut, garlic, cummins, and turmeric powder. Add this gravy to moringa leaves. Remove from the stove when simmering starts. Add the tempering with mustard seeds, red chilli, shallots, and curry leaves.

Now that you know the story of moringa leaves, I know you would love to add this awesome leafy vegetable in your menu.

And, here comes the treat for my favourite weight watchers:

Moringa Soup

(Serves 4)  

  • A small bunch of Moringa leaves
  • 2 teaspoon garlic
  • 5 to 6 shallots or one medium-sized onion.
  • 3 teaspoon butter
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 medium-sized tomato
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons powdered black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups of water
  •  Wash and clean the leaves, and pluck them from stems. If there are flowers it can be used. Finely chop the onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli, and tomato. Heat the butter in a kadai. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté till onions are translucent.  Add the moringa leaves and sauté till they are cooked and tender. Add spice powders and salt. Pour water and boil the soup for five to ten minutes. Serve hot.

 PS:

  1. You can enhance the richness and flavour of the soup by adding some sprouts and microgreens
  2. If you can’t find any moringa leaves, simply boil drumsticks, remove the pulp and use

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