THE WONDER OF A MORINGA TREE


December 2020| 306 views

 

Moringa (Murunga) flowers, leaves and pods can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways.

Words Megan Sathasivam.

Photography and design Hema Kaushaliya and Megan Sathasivam.

Dishes prepared by Nadashan Sivajothy.

The wonderful Moringa tree also known as Murunga in Sinhala, has many benefits. Its flowers, leaves and pods can all be cooked to prepare delicious dishes that are full of nutrition.

The talk in towns, homes, hospitals and even social media is how to live healthy and keep fit. This trend has led to people concentrating on what they eat. Well if there is one food you should know about, to help keep you fit and healthy it’s the Moringa tree and best yet this wonder is grown naturally right here in Sri Lanka. Best grown on the northern and eastern part of Sri Lanka between October through till December.

What you need to know about the Moringa tree? It’s also known as the drumstick tree, horseradish tree and the miracle tree. It grows quickly in a tropical climate in full sun, up to 12m in height. It has whitish-grey corky bark, pale green ‘feathery’ leaves, perfumed creamy-white flowers, long pods also known as the (drumsticks) that turn brown when mature and dark brown seeds.

Moringa is part of the normal diet in Sri Lanka and is gaining popularity in the Western world, where it is claimed to be a ‘superfood’.

Benefits of the Moringa tree? It is part of the normal diet in Sri Lanka and is gaining popularity in the Western world, where it is claimed to be a ‘superfood’. The young shoots,

flowers and young seed pods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and vital nutrients, and are commonly added to soups and curries. The leaves are used to make herbal tea, or can be dried and crushed to a powder, which can be taken in capsules. The root can be peeled and grated as a substitute for horseradish. The oil extracted from mature seeds is said to have anti-fungal properties, and may be included in creams and soaps.

Wondering how to cook and eat Moringa? Moringa dishes have been passed down in Tamil culture for many generations for all its health benefits. With busier lifestyles, how to cook and eat these traditional dishes has been lost to easy less nutritious fast foods.

However, recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are now looking backwards for healthier natural options to boost immunity and protect themselves. So here are some of the ways you can cook with this Moringa ‘superfood’ and the ways it can be eaten.