Drumstick Malunggay

published Jul 7, 2008
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We saw this strange item being sold by a Filipino farmer at the Alemany Farmer’s Market on Saturday. What is it?

It’s called a drumstick malunggay and comes from the Moringa vegetable tree. It’s also called the horseradish tree in some parts of the world, as the edible roots are grated and eaten, and have a taste similar to horseradish. Most of the tree, including the leaves, flowers, seed pods, and roots are edible. The tree is commonly found in Asia and Africa.

What we’re seeing in the photo is a long seed pod from the flowers of the tree. The pods are cooked like green beans and the seeds are removed and roasted. It is said that the pods taste like asparagus. The pods can also be sliced up and fried like okra, and added to soups and curries. They’re more commonly eaten in parts of Africa, India, and Thailand. This tree is also widely found in the Philippines, but the Filipinos traditionally eat the leaves rather than the pods.

(Image: Kathryn Hill)