Drumstick leaves poriyal / Munaga Aaku vepudu (stir fry)

Drumstick leaves poriyal is a very healthy option as a side dish and one of my favourites in stir fries (poriyal). Drumstick leaves are widely used in the southern part of India. Drumstick leaves is called murungai keerai in Tamil and munaga aaku in Telugu. Drumstick leaves is very healthy and has a good and valuable source of vitamin C, proteins, iron and potassium. It has a very high medicinal values. It is a good source of iron for pregnant women. Some information here.

The drumstick leaves poriyal (stir fry) which I am sharing with you is my mother’s recipe. My mother makes a very tasty rasam and also drumstick leaves fry (poriyal with dal) with drumstick leaves. She prepares 2 dishes at a time with the same quantity, want to know how? I used to enjoy it a lot and it is still one of my favourites. The only thing is plucking the leaves which is time consuming task but the end result is really delicious and enjoyable. Whenever I go to my mother’s house this will be in demand among other recipes. For drumstick leaves my mother use to choose the fresh and young leaves and not the big and old leaves. The taste is better and also it does not taste bitter.

Whenever I have prepared rasam or stir fry (poriyal), I have never felt the bitterness of the leaves – it is so tasty and good for health. I always prepare drumstick leaves rasam and drumstick leaves with dal stir fry (munaga aaku kandi papu or vepudu in Telugu or poriyal in Tamil) together. You can also refer to the munaga aaku rasam recipe. Prepare a stock with the dal and drumstick leaves, which can be used to make the rasam. The drumstick leaves left from the stock preparation can be used to make a side dish – dal and drumstick leaves stir fry. Preparing the poriyal from the cooked and strained dal and drumstick leaves is very easy. I have used roasted gram dal powder, which gives more flavour and taste to the drumsticks leaves.

Preparation time: 5 mins (excluding boiling and straining of dal and drumstick leaves)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Cuisine: Andhra

Serves: 2

Spiciness: Medium


    For boiling

  • Drumstick leaves (100 gms approx) – 3 1/2 cups
  • Toor dal (arharr dal) – 3/4 to 1 cup
  • Water – 7 cups
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Oil (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Tempering/tadka

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Dry chillies – 3
  • Curry leaves – 20
  • Garlic (big, crushed or sliced) – 2
  • Onion (medium, sliced) – 1
  • Green chillies (slit/sliced) – 3
  • Spices

  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted gram powder – 3 to 4 tbsp
  • Dal and boiled drumstick leaves
  • Salt – as per taste


  • Grind roasted gram dal/chana dal/dariya split (putanalu in Telugu and pottukadalai in Tamil) to powder. Keep it ready.
  • Chop the onion, slice or slit the green chillies and keep it ready.
  • Refer munaga aaku rasam recipe for boiling dal and drumstick leaves. Keep the strained and cooked dal and drumstick leaves ready.
  • For drumstick leaves mixture

  • Take a vessel or wide bowl and add the cooked dal and drumstick leaves. Then add all the spices, salt and roasted chana powder (dalia or putanalu in Telugu or pottukadalai in Tamil) to the dal and drumstick leaves. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Tempering and stir frying

  • Heat the vessel and add oil. When it gets warm add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry chillies (break into 2 pieces each) and let it sputter. Then add curry leaves, garlic, green chillies and onion. Fry until the onion is soft and transparent.
  • Now add the dal and drumstick leaves mixture, which was kept aside. Mix well and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is cooked well. The raw smell of dalia (putanalu) should go away.
  • All the spices should also cook well. Stir in between but not much. Switch the heat off when cooked.
  • Serve with rasam and plain rice.


  • You can add chilli as per your taste. Sometimes I avoid green chillies.
  • If you want you can add raw chopped onions instead of frying it and mix with the cooked dal and drumsticks leaves mixture. Then add the seasoning while cooking – it gives a different taste.
  • You can reduce the quantity of dal or increase the quantity of drumsticks leaves and cook.
  • Even if the dal gets overcooked and soft, the poriyal will still taste good and you don’t need to worry.

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