On the table: Moringa flowers

February 01, 2018 12:33 pm | Updated February 02, 2018 04:28 pm IST

Moringa is a miracle tree. Each part — leaves, fruit, flowers and roots — is edible and has been used for generations. It is deemed as a superfood.

The flowers have such a delicate and soft texture, but once cooked, it takes a deeper robust flavour, similar to the taste of mushrooms. As with any edible flowers, remove the stamen and the pistil before cooking. You must soak them in a bowl of water to remove any insects (since it is a major source of nectar) and dirt from the flower.

Most people have a moringa tree in their backyard, from where you can get the flowers. Or simply ask the vegetable vendor that sells the leaves to procure some flowers. Look for younger, tender flowers, and as always, make sure they haven't been sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The flowers should smell fresh.

If you want moringa honey, buy it from Place of Origin . Vrindavan Farm in Maharashtra sells fresh and dried flowers.

When trying to grow moringa, remember that the plant loves the sun and it requires direct sunlight. Watering is not an issue since it is characterised as a drought resistant plant — thus you only need to water when the soil dries up. Look for pests like termites. A natural insecticide will help you with this. If you consume the leaves on a regular basis, then you must harvest the flowers when they are young so that the tree doesn't have to divide the nutrition.

The flowers have been traditionally used in tonics that are meant to reduce inflammation and for nursing mothers.

If you’re a Tisane lover, you can let the flowers steep in hot water for 5-6 minutes, and add honey to sweeten it. The flowers are also enjoyed as a snack: simply fry in any neutral tasting oil. Or go traditional and make a thoran out of it.

Clean and wash the flowers, soak them in a bowl of water for 15 minutes. Make a coarse paste from grated coconut, green chillies, sambhar onions or shallots and curry leaves. In a kadai , add mustard seeds to coconut oil. Sauté the paste for a few minutes. Add the clean moringa flowers, remember to stir fry and not overcook to flowers. In the end, add salt for seasoning. Serve hot with dal and rice.

Kumud Dadlani has gained a Masters degree in Food Studies from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy. She is a firm believer of local foods, and the culture that surrounds it.

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