Friday, February 1, 2008

Murangakkai(drumsticks) Theeyal

Many households in Kerala are self-sufficient when it comes to fruits and vegetables. If you have some land around your house, you are sure to find not only coconut trees, but also trees/plants bearing papaya, guava, jackfruit, gooseberry, mango, chicoo, banana and drumsticks.

Keralites tend to use coconuts in every which way possible. Tender coconut, grated coconut, dried (copra) coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, etc. The other tree that is used just as much is the Moringa pterygosperma, M. oleifera or otherwise know in Malayalam as Murangakkai (drumstick). This bean is long, and its rigid pod grows on a tree rather than a vine. It's hard, green outer covering is rigid enough to earn its common name of drumstick. Both pods and leaves are relished in Kerala. Drumsticks are delicious when cut into finger lengths and cooked in a spicy gravy.

Theeyal is a traditional Kerala dish, the coconut and spices are roasted and then ground to a paste. You can make Theeyal with any vegetable you prefer. The gravy has the sweetness from the coconut and a slightly sour flavor from the tamarind which balances the kick you get from the dry chilies and peppercorns.

  • 14oz/400g Drumsticks (string & cut into 1 ½ pieces) *
  • 200g/7oz Potatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 200g/70g Shallots sliced
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ oz Tamarind pulp
  • Salt
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 Dry red chilies
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 Dry red chilies
  • Few curry leaves.
Cook the potatoes with a little salt and turmeric powder till they are ¾ cooked. Now add the drumsticks and shallots. Cook till the drumsticks and potatoes are cooked. You may need to add some more water. Keep aside.


Heat a pan and dry roast all the ingredients separately over low heat till it emits its own aroma. Transfer to a blender; add a cup of water and pulse to obtain a coarse paste.
Remove and keep aside. Heat oil in a pot and stir fry (bhunno) over a medium heat till it acquires gravy of Khoya consistency and completely devoid of moisture. Add this masala to the potato and drumsticks. Bring it to a boil. Stir in the tamarind pulp; bring it to a boil again. Simmer it gently till the potato and drumsticks are cooked. Adjust the seasoning.


Heat oil, add mustard seeds, when they begin to pop, add the dry red chilies, when their color changes add the curry leaves. Take it off the heat and pour it over the curry. Serve it hot with rice.

* Since I don’t get fresh drumsticks in the Indian/Asian stores here. I have used frozen drumsticks.

1 comment:

farida said...

Looks good! Something I have never tried but would love to try one day.