11 ways to include Sehjan leaves in nutritious meals

Sehjan leaves don’t have a strong flavour by themselves! That makes them easy to add to any dish without altering the original flavours of the dish.

Why do i bother to add Sehjan leaves to a dish? Well, Sehjan, Drumsticks or Moringa leaves add diverse micronutrients to our diet without the need to buy a variety of ingredients, food supplements or bottled vitamins and minerals.

Sehjan drumstick moringa leaves on a tree (4)

Sehjan leaves are available dried and powdered as food supplements in stores and online and are prescribed for Iron deficiency/malabsorption, Calcium, knee pain, joint health, blood purifier, hearth health, etc. It is a treasure for trace elements needed by the body. It is especially useful for growing children and an aging population.

In India, it is difficult to find Sehjan leaves in a vegetable market, as it is already widely grown!

Sehjan drumstick moringa leaves on a tree (2)

It is easily propagated by stem cutting in the rainy season. It grows unnoticed by roadsides, slums, homes, farms and parks. The farms are using it for cattle feed and the food supplement industry. WHO has recommended Moringa to wipe out malnutrition in Africa. Ayurvedic Vaidyas have used it since time immemorable in medicine and more importantly in diet plans to avoid health imbalance in the first place.

Indian meals have many traditional recipes for drumsticks

The Drumstick fruit is used in South Indian kitchens in sambhar, dal, soup, and as a vegetable cooked with coconut. In North India, drumsticks are used to make a pickle, not too spicy, not too oily, so it can be eaten in large potions as a vegetable (precooked meal!)

Learn how to make a vegan, no-flame cooking, drumstick pickle here.

Drumstick leaves are used by observant farmers as cattle feed to promote health in cows and goats and get a higher volume and taste in milk obtained from them.

Sehjan leaves are listed as one of the 36 kinds of leaves found in Chattisgarh cuisine, in the heart of India.

11 easy ways to include Sehjan leaves in meals

  1. Add a handful of drumstick leaves to any chutney that is eaten with Indian food like idli, dosa, paratha, puri, daabeli, pakora, samosa, poha, khichri, pulao, plain rice, chaat, sandwich spread, etc. (mint, coriander, coconut, curry leaves, etc.)
  2. Add fresh or dried sehjan leaves to a green pesto, that is used in pasta dishes, sandwich spread, etc. (basil, nuts, etc.)
  3. Add sehjan leaves to any soup you make at home:) It can easily be blended with water and cooked with packet soups too, if you are in a rush but want to eat healthy.
  4. Dal fry is a popular dish available at roadside dhabas, high-end fine dining addresses, and homes of the rich and poor alike. It is a staple food made of lentils in India. A green coriander garnish is a norm on it. Fry some finely chopped green sehjan leaves for dal fry:) Learn to make Panchatna Dal from Rajasthan, here.
  5. Plain dal minus the colourful dal fry tadka/tempering is till a wonderful way to make a healthy meal with minimal ingredients. Cook a handful of sehjan leaves along with the plain dal or lentils. Temper with a teaspoon of clarified butter, a pinch of cumin and a pinch of asafetida. Voila! Healthy cooking couldn’t get any easier!
  6. Drumstick leaves go well in a pot of khichri too. Learn to make khichri here. It is made of rice, moong lentils, vegetables and spices.
  7. Sehjan leaves blended with water are used to knead a dough for Indian breads: roti, paratha, puri. Learn how to make Sehjan roti here.
  8. Sehjan leaves are easy to add to any rice dish, sauteed along with curry leaves, as in Amlaki rice, Tomato rice, Tamarind Rice, Curd rice, Coriander rice, Mint rice, Coconut rice, etc. recipes that i brought home from Bangalore (The Art of Living International Ashram kitchen).
  9. Sehjan leaves are also easy to incorporate in a raita, especially green bathua raita. Learn to make bathua raita here. It is traditional recipe from North India, using leaves of Lamb’s quarters in a blend of yogurt and spices. In raitas that include fried curry leaves, Sehjan leaves are easy to add along with the curry leaves.
  10. Aaloo papad, or traditional Indian potato crispies, use a mix of spices and coriander, mint, sehjan leaves. Learn to make aaloo papad here.
  11. Sehjan leaves are easy to cook with any vegetables, sauteed, simmered, steamed, boiled, baked, marinade, etc. as it cooks in a couple of minutes and doesn’t change the flavour of the original recipe. I love this part so much that i have grown Drumstick plants in my rooftop garden too! Just a handful of leaves a day is enough for the day! They grow quickly with natural bio-fertilisers made at home.

Turnip grated and cooked with a blend of tomato, ginger, turmeric, sehjan leaves, salt and pepper!

Sehjan leaves cooked with turnip, tomato, ginger, cumin, asafetida, turmeric and salt

Read on for more on healthy meals…

  1. 36 leafy greens from Chattisgarh, India
  2. Drumstick pickle recipe

  3. Pulao recipe

  4. Sehjan roti recipe

  5. Gobhi Paratha recipe

  6. Awadhi cuisine: Mint chutney recipe

  7. Chutney recipes form Indian kitchens

  8. Kumao Himalayas: potato salad recipe

  9. Bathua raita recipe

  10. Khichri recipe

  11. Vegetarian menu from Assam

  12. Aaloo papad recipe

  13. Panchratna Dal recipe from Maharanana Arvind Singh Mewar

  14. Indian cuisine: A Food Map!

  15. Anisha
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