Sunday, July 24, 2011

When The Drumsticks Came Home To Curry

My mother is the kind of person who, as a busy doctor without household help, would make a meal of salt, chilli powder and leftover rice. So it comes as a surprise whenever she expresses an interest in a recipe or proffers one herself. Which is why this recipe is very special and unusual, because she told me about this recently when I was stressing out about how to cook a full meal for someone I'd invited home for lunch.

Now invitations from me are rare because I too, though not a busy doctor, have a hectic life, what with my insomnia and harried rising, gym-and-back-from-gym routine, and work and after-work routine, my insomnia and harried rising gym ... you see how it goes.

I have a two-hour window in the morning with which to turn out some stuff to eat and I managed to make this rather swiftly along with some payasam and two other vegetables. Now that's not a spread by any stretch of the imagination but that's what you can expect if I invited you on a weekday and you accepted my invitation. I had tomatoes and with my mother who arrived the previous day, came from my grandmother's garden fresh drumsticks (or saragwa - always reminds me of Sarajevo and Archduke Ferdinand ever since I heard the name not too long ago).

Known as mulagakaya in Telugu, drumsticks are a household vegetable in South India - not only are they popular, many houses have a tree. It's notorious for harbouring furry and itchy caterpillars, but the benefits outweigh that risk, with the leaves being considered extremely nutritious as they are sources of beta carotene, Vitamin C, iron and protein.

They have a taste that I can only describe as delicately pungent, an oxymoron, I know, but really, you have to taste it to know it. They're the kind of vegetable that you appreciate better as a grown-up. Like brinjal/eggplant, for instance. In my house, we've never had the leaves, only the fruit. And now I don't find any in my locality though there are a few saplings struggling to grow in my apartment building. I've even seen recipes using the tree's flowers. Here is more information.

It's pretty much an as-you-like-it curry and it was almost two months ago that I made it so I'll give you the general guidelines about how to make it.

You will need

2-3 tomatoes, chopped
2 drumsticks, cut into 2-inch pieces
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4-1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder and salt to taste
Oil - 1-2 tsp

In a pan, heat 1-2 tsp of oil.

Pop the mustard and then the cumin.

Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till pulpy.

Now add the spices and cook a little more.

Ensure the tomato isn't drying up - if need be, add some water.

Then add the drumstick pieces, mix well, add just 1/4 cup water if there isn't any already in the pan, cover and cook till insides are soft.

Chew to your heart's content once it's done. My mother's grandfather is supposed to have chewed them so long and hard, with such relish, that they were bleached white!

One more way to cook them.

This goes off to Chriesi at Almond Corner who's hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, now run by Haalo.


  1. delicious curry I love using drumstick with dal and stews

  2. Have abundance of drumsticks at mom's place and I indulge in curries with loads of them floating in it. Out here in metro, these sticks are pricey and I always chew (bleach) them white :)

  3. Drumsticks are my favourite veggie for sambar - and they are not avaiabale all the time - especially the tender ones you have got - looks woinmderful with the tomatoes.

  4. Yummy.. I love drumsticks in any form.. I love it when I add in sambar too.. takes the taste to new level..A completely new recipe

  5. I have some drumsticks ,I will try this :)

  6. Sadly, I have never taken a likin to drumsticks. As a kid, we had a tree growing in a neighbor's backyard and would be bestowed with a bunch of these from time to time. My mom would put them in the dal and make us chew these.

  7. I've had several "not-very-pleasant" encounters with the hairy caterpillars that live on these trees. That did nothing to keep me from liking drumsticks, though.....

  8. I have some frozen drumsticks sitting in the freezer for a while. I like the idea of this curry and am going to make it in my -oh -so busy day :)

  9. We had drumsticks so often growing up since it grew aplenty at my grandma's place. The frozen ones here are look so sorry in comparison but I still love the flavour they add when in Sambar.
    Yummy curry Sra.

  10. That recipe and pic look delicious :)

  11. I never know the name of this vegetable - so it is called "drumsticks"? I usually see them in sambar.

  12. Oh, yum! I like the sound of this and I like that I have all the ingredients, so I can make it. Yeah! ;-)

  13. Hey dear first time here..but I think I know u ...u hv a bful blog with stunning pics..wonder how I missed it...
    Anyways would love to hear a word from u too...
    this looks drumsticks..any leftovers pls.?..Yummo
    Following u..

  14. what a nice name for a food blog:)
    thanks a lot for dropping by my blog sra..i am yet to surf around yours, but from what i can see, I could get pretty comfortable here :)

  15. Hi're u? Long time since I visited this place. I love murungaikai and in this new place blessed with 3 big tree in the backyeard and we are enjoying drumsticks to the full extent. This curry is lovely and simple and am going to try it out. And chewing is the best part of eating a drumstick isn't it?

  16. I *do* have to try drumsticks, and a whole lotta other fresh Indian vegetables. When my own harried life frees up (hahahaha), bitter gourd will be next, but I have been just as intrigued by drumsticks.

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  18. Sra,
    Yeah drumsticks and that to vege not the chicken :-D..we had a drumstick tree in our native place. I like eating them in dals or in simple curry with brinjals/potato/vadis ..My Mother and Ma-in-law has this way of making flowers tempered with panch phoron and green chillies, taste awesome with warm cooked rice.Although I have not tried making flowers yet ..
    It's been such a long time that I visited your blog, how are you?...hugs and smiles

  19. i adapted your veg haleem recipe and put it up here

    it turned out wonderful :)

  20. thanks, all of you, for your comments


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