The drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera) is a hardy tree which grows easily even in the wild. Its tender pod – muringakka- is a favourite vegetable in most South Indian cuisine. Who can resist the wafting aroma of a ‘muringakka sambar’? The leaves are also used like keerai. All parts of this tree – the pods, seeds and the leaves- are said to be rich in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. The seeds and leaves are also used in filtering and purifying river water.*
Of late, the West has discovered the benefits of moringa and all sorts of moringa products are available in the market at fancy prices. Reams (or, should I say, terrabytes) of literature are also published on moringa’s benefits and applications.
Good to see that we have not given up our trusted ‘Muringaikai’ and ‘Murugai keerai’.
Above picture of a push cart of lush green muringakkai and muringaikeerai was taken near the Chitrakkulam in Mylapore during the Panguni festival.
*PS. Oh yes, I left out the Tamil movie innuendoes !