Hed Chef

Moringa leaves are tasty and nutritious

Moringa leaves and dhal stir-fry. PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - For a rustic and nutritious dish, try using moringa oleifera leaves.

An article published in the Food Science and Human Wellness journal in June last year noted that the leaves are rich in calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper.

They also contain vitamins A, B, C, D and E.

Housewife Nesam Dodwell, 81, has her own moringa tree, from which she harvests the leaves for a stir-fry with shallots, garlic and coconut milk.

I managed to get moringa leaves at an Indian grocery shop.

The owner of an Indian spice shop at my neighbourhood market also shared her recipe - a moringa and dhal stir-fry without coconut milk.

She also suggested using fried whitebait as a topping.

I combined the two recipes.

The moringa leaves are bitter. If you must, add a little sugar to balance it out.

Moringa Leaves and Dhal Stir-fry


150g moringa oleifera leaves
40g chana dhal (dried split chickpeas)
350ml water (for boiling chana dhal)
3 tbsp cooking oil
30g dried whitebait, rinsed and dried
½ tsp black mustard seeds
5 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli
1 green chilli, halved lengthwise and de-seeded
½ tsp salt


1. Destem moringa leaves and discard stems. Wash leaves and place in a colander. Set aside to drain.

2. Rinse and soak chana dhal for 30 minutes.

3. Rinse chana dhal again and place in a pot with 350ml of water. Bring to a boil. Boil, partially covered, on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and discard liquid. Set aside boiled dhal.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan. Place whitebait in pan and fry over medium-low heat until golden and crisp. Place whitebait on kitchen paper to drain excess oil. Set aside.

5. In a clean pan, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat. Add black mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add chopped shallots and garlic.

6. Fry until shallots and garlic are softened and beginning to brown.

7. Add dried red chilli and green chilli. Lower heat.

8. Add moringa leaves and fry over low heat for 10 minutes until tender.

9. Add boiled dhal and season with salt. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

10. Garnish with fried whitebait and serve.

Serves two with rice.

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