Munaga kaaya or Munaga kaara Tomato kura

Drumstick curry with tomato gravy.

Update: This vegetable is being promoted by The Himalayan Universe. They are promoting munaga kaya for its miraculous properties to eliminate malnutrition among poor children.

dsc04450.jpgMunaga kaaya or Munaga kaara is popularly known as Drumsticks all over India, the reason they got the name from the fact that they do resemble the musical drumsticks. The drumstick tree is often referred as horseradish tree and the botanical name is Moringa oleifera.

Drumsticks are widely used in Indian cooking, especially in South India. The drumsticks are green skinned, tough, grows 1-2 feet long, and is a sticklike vegetable, which is surprisingly soft and fleshy inside. The opaque white flesh, surround the seeds ( shaped like a pea), covered in layers of skins, is sweetish and nutty, fragrant, and tasty to eat, when cooked.

Also the leaves are used a lot in Indian cooking which is highly nutritious, contains good source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron and potassium. Often these leaves are cooked with lentils and potatoes, used as a substitute for fresh spinach.
In some places even the flowers are used in cooking. This tree is a good source for calcium and phosphorus.

Drumsticks tomato curry is a simple sweet, tangy and spicy gravy curry, cooked with onions, tomatoes, minimal spices (like chilli powder and turmeric) and aromatic curry leaves .Sweet and creamy flesh drumsticks absorb all the flavors of tomatoes, onions and spices all the way when cooked has an irresistible taste and satisfies everyone’s taste which can served with rice and roties (Indian bread). Drumstick sambar (lentil stew) is a popular dish all over India.


Fresh tender drumsticks (4-5)
1 onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies (chopped)
3-4 tomatoes chopped
1 twig of curry leaves
Fistful of coriander leaves (chopped)
Red chilli powder (accord to taste)
1/4th tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1-2 cups water

1 red chilis broken into pieces
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
2 tbsp cooking oil


Cut drumsticks into 1″-1 ½ ” long pieces. Heat oil in a shallow pan and add the seasoning ingredients and sauté allow mustard seeds to splutter, put the curry leaves, chopped onions and chillies, turmeric and sauté till onions turn translucent. Now add red chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft and mushy (it takes around 5-6 minutes). Add salt, drumsticks and 1-1 ½ cup water, cover the pan and allow it to cook on a low flame. Keep stirring in between till done (its takes 20-25 minutes). Add water if needed and adjust the seasoning. Cook for couple more minutes, turn off the heat garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or choice of meal.


Notes and Tips

Do not over cook the drumsticks, don’t stir too much as the drumsticks will fall apart. You can slightly scrape the ridges (with peeler) if you want. The gravy should not be runny or thick. You can add little yogurt or cream at the end if you like. You can also add garlic. You can also use frozen drumsticks for this curry but the fresh tastes really good.

Other related dishes:-


Mukkala Pulusu or Dappalam


26 Responses to “Munaga kaaya or Munaga kaara Tomato kura”

  1. July 13, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    i love this curry!!!looking colorfull!!

  2. July 14, 2007 at 9:13 am

    oohh! I am salivating! Drumsticks are always looks great in any dish.Fabulous recipe,thanks.I love the photo:))
    See you at FH,special!;D

  3. July 14, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Thanks Suma

    Swapna this is one of my fav curries.

    Thanks Asha, its for u, enjoy!:D. BTW what is FH??

  4. July 15, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    loved the recipe, fabulous photo….

  5. July 16, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    welcome back. never made kura out of munakaya. lucky, you get fresh ones. we get only frozen here.

  6. 8 ui
    July 17, 2007 at 2:45 am

    Hi Shivapriya,
    Your recipe is so beautifully illustrating the preparation of Munaga kaya curry and we have been promoting Moringa Tree (Munaga kaaya) not only for its good curry, but also as a miracle tree to improve nutrition among poverty stricken, malnutritioned children and people in the region. Even if people eat Moringa leaves or the pods or the drumsticks, once in a while, the chances are that they receive most of the micro-nutrients.

    Thank you again for your kindness.



  7. July 17, 2007 at 11:15 am

    dish looks so delicious! i want to try this, but with frozen drumstick.

  8. July 17, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    thats one of the yummiest drumstick recipe i have ever come across dear. i have got some fresh drumsticks from indian grocery shop. cant wait to try this one.

  9. July 17, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    oh just saw ashakka’s comment. FH is her blog, foodies hope 😉

  10. July 17, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Hey Sharmi
    Munaga kaaya curry taste really delicious, give it a try . You can use frozen one’s also. This is the first time in 3yrs I got fresh one’s in VA. I use to get fresh one’s in CA during summer. BTW it was quite expensive;) .

  11. July 17, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Ui,
    Thank you for your promptness. I provided a link to your website from my blog.

  12. July 17, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Richa , lemme know when you try it.

    Sia, thanks for the FH abbreviation:) it din’t strike me. I’m sure you will love the curry. Enjoy.

  13. July 18, 2007 at 9:35 am

    This gravy is looking YUM!……Nice picture….

  14. July 18, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    This looks so good. Going to try it soon

  15. July 18, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks Sukanya and welcome to my virtual cooking.

    Good to see u back sandeepa. Lemme know how the dish turned out.

  16. July 20, 2007 at 2:58 am

    wow wow wow thats a real authentic one

  17. July 20, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for dropping by shanti. I’m gald you liked it.

  18. July 20, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Shivapriya, Welcome back girl. I love drumstick. It always adds extra something to any dish isn’t it? Lovely presentation and I am sure it must have been tasting great right?

  19. July 20, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks Seema, it sure did!

  20. July 27, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Shivapriya! first time at your blog. Misses a lot. This curry looks great and beautiful pics too. Nice blog with yuumy recipes. Thanks for sharing.


  21. July 28, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Jyothi,
    Welcome to my site. Thanks for dropping by.

  22. 24 akbari gunturi
    August 23, 2007 at 12:49 am

    chala bagundi i try it today thanx for recepie

  23. August 23, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Akbari Gunturi, I’m really glad u enjoyed the curry.

  24. September 27, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Now that is a delicious bowl of vegetables. 🙂

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