A simple dish with drumstick
Drumstick is one of the most common trees in India. The green-skinned, tough, 1-2 feet long, stick-like vegetable, is soft and fleshy inside.
The opaque white flesh, embedded with pea-like seeds, covered in layers of skin, is sweetish, fragrant and tasty, when cooked.
The hard ridges of drumsticks are generally lightly scraped with a peeler, but care should be taken to not over peel it, as the vegetable tends to become difficult to cook and stir.
The skin should also be intact to enable eating the fleshy part, when cooked.
Ayurveda says the leaves of the Moringa tree can prevent 300 diseases. Scientific research has proven that these humble leaves are, in fact, a powerhouse of nutrition.
Gram for gram, the drumstick contains seven times the vitamin C in oranges, four times the calcium and 2 times the protein in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrot, and 3 times the potassium in bananas.
The drumstick is valued as a vegetable. All parts of the tree — the bark, root, fruit, flowers, leaves, seeds and even the gum — have medicinal value and are used in the treatment of rheumatism and venomous bites as an antiseptic and as cardiac and circulatory stimulants.
It also acts like a diuretic. Externally, it is applied as a plaster or poultice to swellings.
Its seeds are acrid and stimulant. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C and are useful in treating catarrhal infections.
Drumstick's another miraculous quality is its ability to purify water and it has been used by households for centuries. But it has only recently been tested commercially.
Powdered drumstick seeds, when added to murky, bacteria-laden water, act as a coagulant, binding to the bacteria and silt and falling to the bottom of the vessel. The clean water can then be poured out.
Now, for a recipe.
Drumstick with onions
Onions, finely chopped: 2-3
Tamarind extract (or 1 tomato chopped): 1 tbsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds: half tsp
Whole red chillies, broken into pieces: 3
Cooking oil: 2 tbsp
Method: Peel and cut the drumsticks into one-and-a-half-inch long pieces. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard and the whole chillies. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add all the chopped vegetables, except tomato, and saute. Add the salt and the turmeric powder. Cover and allow it to cook on a low flame. Keep stirring in between till done. Add chilli powder and tamarind extract/chopped tomato. Cook for some more time. Serve hot with rice.
The writer is Sr. Sous Chef Raintree Hotel