Malunggay: leaves, pods and flowers
This is an updated version of a post originally published on Jan 17, 2007.
Malunggay is Moringa oleifera Lamk, a tree with edible leaves and fruits. When I posted my halaan (clams) and malunggay soup recipe on May 29, 2006, there were some comments referring to the fruit of the malunggay. I have been a fan of malunggay leaves for a long, long time but I have never tried cooking nor eating the malunggay fruit. After reading those comments, I tried looking for malunggay fruit in the wet market and found none. I did know, however, that our next door neighbor at the time (we moved in 2008) had a malunggay tree in his front yard. Unfortunately, he chopped down the tree before I could ask for a few of its fruits.
Behind our old house, there was another malunggay tree that was visible over the fence. On whose lot it grew, I did not know which made it difficult to ask for a few pods. However, I have a telephoto lens that allowed me to take photos of faraway trees. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, an old external drive where the photos were stored went kaput and I lost them. But I am a diligent blogger so I went to 123rf.com and paid something like a dollar for a photo of malunggay pods. For those who don’t know what the edible fruits of the malunggay tree look like, there they are in the photo on the right (which, by the way, has no watermark because I got it the legitimate way).
If you’re interested in what the flowers of the malunggay look like, there they are on the left. I’m the one who took that photo. And you can read the post where it originally appears by clicking here.
Anyway, an Ilocos episode in the Living Asia Channel showed how the malunggay pods are used for cooking bulanglang and diningding (or dinengdeng). All very intriguing but until I find some for sale in the market (or until I find out on whose property that malunggay tree in the photo grows), I’ll have to content myself with digitized malunggay pods.
The malunggay leaves, available at very cheap prices all year ’round, I’ve cooked a lot with. Soups, mostly.
Here’s how to prepare the malunggay leaves for cooking.
Hold a stem with one hand. Lightly grip between the forefinger and thumb of the other hand where the leaves begin nearest to the tip.
Slide your forefinger and thumb to strip off the leaves.
Rinse the leaves and they’re ready to go into the pot.