Growing up in Sri Lanka my mother would go outside and pick Kathuru Murunga leaves and flowers and make a sambol. This was very much a common occurrence throughout the country of Sri Lanka known for its citizens eating an insane variety and amounts of vegetables. It is amazing my parents knew intuitively, sort of passed on knowledge from past generations, that Kathuru murunga was enormously beneficial to human body in various ways. Murunga is also used in Ayurveda medicine.
Recently during a visit to close by India Supermarket, to my surprise, I found fresh Murunga leaves. After more than 10 years, I reconnected with this amazing super leaves and added it into my diet right away.
Kathuru murunga or for short Murunga is the name commonly used to call this amazing plant in Sri Lanka, while its scientific name is Moringa Oleifera.
Edible Parts of Moringa Tree
Leaves – In the west, they have marketed leaves as a superfood and leaves are dried and powdered and sold as capsules, oil, and dry leaves. I believe, once you dry the living leaves the energy is gone from it and it is inferior to the fresh living leaves.
Flower (Kathurumurunga Mal) – In Sri Lanka, people pick the Kathuru Murunga flower and make a sambol and serve it fresh. It is very tasty.
Drumstick (Murunga) – Is the fruit from the Moringa tree and in Sri Lanka people scrap the outter layer a little and cut into pieces and cook it into a delicious curry with coconut milk.
Health Benefits of Murunga/ Moringa
According to healthline these are some of many health benefits discovered by science thus far. It has Protein (2g), Vit B6, Vit C, Iron, B2, Vit A, Magnesium. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and protect again Arsenic toxicity. Also known as “the miracle tree” for 1000s of years for its healing benefits. And of course when eaten as live plant and combined with other spices and herbs these benefits will multiply.
Best Way I found to eat Murunga/ Moringa Leaves
The tastiest and the best way to eat Murunga leaves fresh, is as a sambol. Below is my re-creation of the delicious sambol, that has a bit sweeter taste to it as well. It is a mix of Moringa leaves, onions, shredded coconut, ginger, and salt.
I found the sambol recipe done to perfection by Ape Amma youtube channel. (it is in sinhala)
Coconut flakes 3 tbsp
Medium Red onion – chopped 1/2
Chilies flakes 1tsp
Green chilies – chopped x1
Black pepper powder 1/4tsp
Ginger 1/2 inch
+ murunga leaves as much as you want
Put all this in a food processor
Once blended well add Lime juice 2tsp and Salt to taste