Muringa Ila Erissery is a delicious Kerala Style preparation made with muringa ila or moringa leaves. This is a type of ozhichu curry (curry served with rice) served for a day-to-day meal in the Kerala Cuisine.
Moringa leaves are nutrient and fiber-dense and have a lot of health benefits. You will find these leaves at your local Indian grocer or Asian supermarkets.
Full recipe + measurements + video can be found in the recipe card below.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes (unattended)
Quick Ingredient Run Down
- Fresh Muringa Ila/Moringa Leaves
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- Turmeric Powder
- Freshly grated coconut (substitute with frozen & thawed coconut)
- Cumin Seeds
- Toor Dal (if you are unable to find toor dal, red lentils will work in a pinch)
- Oil (use coconut oil for an authentic taste)
- Shallots ( you can use pearl onions instead)
Read WebMD article about the health benefits of Moringa, with a focus on Moringa leaves as supplements. We don't consume any moringa leaves supplements at home. Growing up fresh moringa leaves, flowers and fruit was part of our diet.
How To Prepare Moringa Leaves?
Muringa Ila or Moringa leaves are also called drumstick leaves in India.
This really is a time-consuming task. :). But the end result & the nutritional benefits definitely outweigh the time-consuming aspect of this recipe.
Moringa leaves usually come in bunches with stems attached. The basic idea is to detach them from the stem and not to use any part of the stem (since the stems, however small bits they are, are sturdy and do not cook well). You cannot chop them as you would do for other leafy vegetables.
Separate into smaller branches if required. Hold a small branch in your left hand (or your less dominant hand) and pluck the leaves in one gentle, firm, jerky motion with your other hand's fingertips. Make sure there are no bits of the stem (not even small) when you pick the leaves. Wash the leaves after picking. See the video in the recipe card below.
It is time-consuming especially when the leaves are fresh. One time-saving tip I learned from my family is to keep the leaves wrapped in a kitchen paper towel in the refrigerator overnight. This will wilt the leaves slightly and they will fall off the stems on their own.
Growing up, if any dish with muringa ila was part of the menu, plucking the leaves would be done the previous evening as part of the prep work for the next day.
Tips To Get The Best Results
- Make sure there are no stems while preparing the muringa leaves. Use as fresh leaves as possible.
- Use warm water to grind the coconut.
- After you add the tadka or tempering, cover with a lid if not serving immedialtely. This locks in the flavors and aroma.
Time Saving Tips
Keep these tips in mind to save time when preparing this muringa ila parippu curry (moringa leaves curry with dal).
- Prepare the moringa leaves ahead of time.
- You can cook toor dal ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. This will save considerable especially if you are planning to make this for a weeknight dinner.
- Red lentils cook faster than toor dal. So, if in a time crunch use red lentils. The taste won't be drastically different.
- Remember to thaw the coconut (if using frozen) prior to use.
- Grind the coconut while the toor dal is cooking.
- Use a pressure cooker/Instant Pot to cook your dal.
This is best served with steamed rice especially if you can get your hands on some Palakaddan Matta Rice. For a side dish, you can serve any of the following:
- Granny Smith Apple Pickle
- Green Peas & Carrot Stir Fry
- Crispy Tilapia
- Chicken Roast
- Asparagus Thoran
- Pineapple Pachadi
Serve plain yogurt (vegan if required) along with the moringa ila curry. Yogurt complements the curry brilliantly. Add some fried pappadoms (thin lentil wafers) and enjoy a whole meal in Kerala Style.
This curry can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
The curry will thicken on cooking. Add water to adjust the consistency and reheat thoroughly.
Muringa Ila Erissery
- Instant Pot
- Small blender/mixer-grinder
- Cooking Spoons
- Measuring Spoons/Cups
- Chopping Board and Knife
- Small Pan For preparing Tadka/tempering (used on the stovetop)
- Small Bowl
- Serving Dish
- 115 grams (½ cup) toor dal rinse with water 2-3 times
- 50 grams (approx. 2 cups) muringa ila/moringa leaves
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or to taste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 75 grams (¾ cup) grated coconut fresh or frozen and thawed
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon oil use coconut oil for an authentic taste
- 1-2 large shallots or pearl onions; thinly sliced crosswise
- Prepare the moringa leaves. Detach them from the stem and wash well with water.
- Get all your ingredients ready.
- Grind the coconut and cumin seeds with about ½ cup of water to a smooth paste.*
- Add toor dal to the steel insert of Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water and latch the lid. Vent in the SEALING position. PRESSURE COOK (or MANUAL MODE in some models) on HIGH for 15 minutes. Natural pressure release (It takes few minutes for the pressure to build up in the Instant Pot. Additionally, it takes about 20 minutes for the pressure to be released naturally). Once the pressure is released completely, press CANCEL.
- Open the lid, and add the washed moringa leaves, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and water if required. Cook until the moringa leaves wilt and comes to a rapid boil. Note: Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and add more if needed.
- Add the ground coconut paste and bring it back to a boil. At this stage, adjust the consistency by adding more water if required, adjust the spice and salt.
PREPARE TADKA ON STOVETOP
- Heat oil in a small tadka pan on the stovetop (medium heat)t. Add the thinly sliced shallots and fry them until aromatic and brown.
- Pour over the curry and serve hot.