Ramazan Mubarak to all my readers!! I don't like to dwell on the religious aspects here as this is a food blog so let me jump to a very popular recipe back home.
Sometimes the things you enjoy the most and yearn for the most are the simplest and easiest to find in the right place and time. But taken out of its context and it becomes a delicacy, a rarity and a treasure.
Muringya ela curry is one of those curries that's made with the leaf of the Drumstick plant. A very common tree, easily grown in most households, it gives really a unique tasting leaf and the luscious drumsticks. The leaves have to be plucked without the stems..quite a labor intensive process best done by a couple or more ladies together with some gossip thrown in to break the monotony of the job.
Now this preparation of the leaves cooked in a coconut gravy goes best with the light Pathiris and tire pathiris.(Recipe coming soon ...) And since both these pathiris are really from the outlying areas of Kozhikode, I think this curry is also originally from the inlands of Malappuram, Vadakara etc.
In Kozhikode, pathiris are served mostly with ishtoo..chicken stew, beef stew, mutton kurma etc..even for breakfast.. but in Malappuram, its only in the last decade or so that meat and fish became readily available and commonly consumed. During my childhood visits to the tharavadu at Malappuram, Pathiris were served with this muringa curry for breakfast. There was a drumstick plant adjacent to the property "compound" wall. The leaves were then plucked by us kids, climbing on the wall and stretching precariously to reach the upper leaf laden branches. A couple of falls each time with some minor scrapes were common too.
The Malappuram pathiris are so thin and airy that dunking them with this curry, two folds down and you can easily down a good number of them without blinking.
On the east coast here, we haven't seen Muringa/Muringya leaf yet in the Indian stores though its available in the West coast. So we really enjoyed this curry at our parent's house for breakfast and even got it for dinner at my aunt's house who made it especially for me. So if you get this leaf in CA or Dallas, here is the recipe to go with it.
You Will Need:
Drumstick Leaves: 1 cup
Green chilies- 2
red Chili Powder- 1/2 tsp (more or less as per taste)
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Coconut grated: 1 cup
Shallots- 3, very thinly sliced
Oil for seasoning.
Wash the drumstick leaves well. Take care not to have any bits of the stem. Cook the leaves with the slit green chilies, turmeric, chili powder and salt in 1 1/2 cup water for about 10 minutes. Grind the coconut with 1/2 cup water to a very fine paste and add to the cooked leaves. Allow the whole mixture to boil once. Adjust salt as required. Some people add garlic and cumin seeds to the coconut while grinding but its optional.
Heat the teaspoon of oil and fry the shallots till light brown and then add the curry leaves. Pour this oil over the curry. Serve with Pathiri, chapathi or triangle porotta.