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Unknown Indian Legume?!


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Hi,

I'm new to eGullet but looking at the former posts I believe I arrived to the right place :smile:

Walking in a market, where there is a large Indian community, I came across an old guy selling strange looking pods or pulses. He asked me if I was Hindi speaking and when I answered negatively he smiled (with only a few teeth... :huh: ) and said that this was like "indian okra" and muttered something like "ChaPAnga" (with an accent on the PA sylable).

These are 5-6 inch pods, green with some reddish lines. They are hard, not as soft as other pods I know. He told me to trim the ends, peel and cook them. This is what I'm going to do, but I wanted to know if anyone has a clue what these are, what are they called and what's the best use for them (otherwise it's tomato sauce with spices...)

Thanks,

Zucchini

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as far as i know parwal and potol are the same thing, so even if it isn't the mystery pod in question at least we're thinking of the same thing. i personally have my doubts that it is parwal/potol since i've never heard of it being available fresh in the u.s (assuming that's where the questioner is from). the only time i've ever seen it in the u.s is frozen in bangladeshi grocery stores (and it comes out pretty horrible when you thaw it and cook it).

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as far as i know parwal and potol are the same thing, so even if it isn't the mystery pod in question at least we're thinking of the same thing. i personally have my doubts that it is parwal/potol since i've never heard of it being available fresh in the u.s (assuming that's where the questioner is from). the only time i've ever seen it in the u.s is frozen in bangladeshi grocery stores (and it comes out pretty horrible when you thaw it and cook it).

We get it fresh in NYC... It is available in the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi grocers. It is fresh and actually is not bad at all.

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i personally have my doubts that it is parwal/potol since i've never heard of it being available fresh in the u.s (assuming that's where the questioner is from). the only time i've ever seen it in the u.s is frozen in bangladeshi grocery stores (and it comes out pretty horrible when you thaw it and cook it).

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, fresh "Parwal" a.k.a "Potol" is indeed available in many Indian grocery stores...

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Ok,

Here's a picture of the alien pod.

20923649.AlienPod.jpg

(if the picture does not show try this URL: Alien Pod

It does not have the consistency of okra as it's not soft to the touch, but hard.

A lot of guys at the office have gathered for the photo shoot and now it has become a wide spread mystery. We need to find out what it is! A lot of people are now waiting for the truth to come out... :smile:

Edited by Suvir Saran (log)
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zucchini,

The Latin name for the tree this pod comes from is Moringa oleifera which goes by the common English name of the drumstick tree aka Horseradish Tree

Other names include:

Ben aile, Ben-oil (France)

Sajna (India)

Murunkak-kai (Sri Lanka)

Malunggay (Philippines)

Mlonge (Kenya), Nebeday (Senegal)

Benzolive (Haiti)

Chum ngây (Vietnamese)

Shigru, Shobhanjana (Sanskrit)

Sahijna, Sainjna, Munaga (Hindi)

Miracle Tree, Moringa or saragawa.

Check out the information at this Asian Vegetable Forum at a thread titled: Moringa/Saragawa/Drumstick for links to recipes, photos, etc.

More:

Moringa Miracle

...just about the whole plant is edible: the roots as a horseradish substitute, the mustard-flavoured leaves, twigs and flowers raw in salads or cooked in curries and the seeds like peanuts.

From Chiltern Seeds

drumst1.jpg

IMG00477.jpg

:smile:

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Amazing!

I think the mystery is solved and now it has to cook!

Thanks, mudbug, for the extensive information. The pictures look exactly like the pods I have. I wonder if they grow them here, in Israel, I guess the climate is good for them.

I've downloaded a PDF file with recipies, I'll pick one and report back!

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...just about the whole plant is edible: the roots as a horseradish substitute, the mustard-flavoured leaves, twigs and flowers raw in salads or cooked in curries and the seeds like peanuts.

Seeds tasting like peanuts is a new one to me... maybe yes perhaps like boiled peanuts when you suck them out of the pods. I hope you've realised, BTW, that the whole pod can't be ingested. When you cook them they become soft enough to split and then you scrape (or chew) the pulpy interior, and the seeds, away from the fibrous pod and eat those.

A particularly frugal aunt of mine was known for cooking the leaves from the big drumstick tree in her backyard, and we always joked about it as an example of her frugality - most people just cooked the pods, she cooked the leaves as well.

But the joke was on me, a couple of months back, when chef Praveen Anand of Dakshin presented me with an AMAZINGLY good dish of prawns cooked with drumstick tree leaves. Their pulpy texture and slightly pungent taste was the perfect foil to the big prawns. Chef Anand told me he got the recipe from the Mudaliar community in central Tamil Nadu. I didn't get the recipe from him, but I'm off to Madras next week and I'll certainly try and weasel it out of him then,

Vikram

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We Sindhis eat the dried flowers too prepared in a Kheema like style.

Young drumsticks( Suwandhro) plucked when 2-3 inches long, can be boiled whole and eaten in a raita or made as a sabji.

I also use the regular drumstick as an essential ingredient for making a good vegetarian stock or the pods in a mirepoix. It has a lot of "Umami".

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Mission accomplished. I did a Chicken Shakuti (I think this is the name for a chicken cooked in coconut) with the pods. I tried to peel the outer (hard) skin to remove some of the stringy parts but some were still stringy and we had to scrape the inner softer pulp.

It was nice, but I wouldn't deliberatly go look for these again... :smile:

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It was nice, but I wouldn't deliberatly go look for these again...  :smile:

At lunch yesterday, I was giving Drum Sticks to a Caucasian friend in NYC. This friend is no newbie to Indian food, in fact eats Indian food most every meal. They had exactly your reaction to these. Even as I was using my teeth to scrape every last bit of soft fiber and pulp to savor. :smile:

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If they are drumsticks....

In Kerala we use it a lot.  We add it in sambar, aviyal, mixed veg preparations.  Also you can cook it with shrimps, or alone like thoran.

I have had it as Thoran and also had a soup at a friends house. Both are wonderful preparations. My friend is from Kerala.

Maybe you can share some other wonderful recipes and preparations from Kerala. What a treat it would be.

The use of drumsticks in Avials, sambhaars and mixed vegetable preparations are more common.

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Maybe you can share some other wonderful recipes and preparations from Kerala.  What a treat it would be.

:unsure: Hey, I am not a big cook! Just learning by trial and error, but I would like to share kerala recipes I have tried so far. I cannot claim they are my recipes. I collect recipes from the web & magazines, make changes to match our taste...

It looks like all of you here in this forum are great professional cooks. Glad that I found this forum!

Red Pepper

My Workshop

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