11 Ways You Can Use Malunggay

Add a little health bump to all your meals.

Malunggay, also known as moringa, has exploded in popularity because it's such a good, easy-to-use, and accessible superfood. If you're looking to add a superfood to your diet, this is a great ingredient to start with. Rich in nutrients and vitamins, the humble malunggay offers lots of culinary possibilities, too. It's time to reap the healthy and delicious benefits of this leafy vegetable!

Here are malunggay recipes to show you how easy it is to do:

1 Pesto Perfecto

malunggay pesto in a white bowl
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Great things do come in small packages, as a tiny malunggay leaf is packed with vitamin C, calcium, and protein. Introduce your kids to this new mealtime best friend by whipping up bowls of malunggay pesto pasta. In a blender or food processor, combine garlic, cashews, malunggay leaves, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil; purée until smooth. Not a fan of pasta? You can also add this homemade malunggay pesto to your favorite noodles and top with grilled shrimps or chicken.    

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2 Cream of the Crop

malunggay and corn soup with red onions in a square bowl
Photo by Majoy Siason
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Taking cues from the classic suam na mais, this creamy malunggay and corn soup recipe is your best bet to combat the sniffles. To make this creamy malunggay dish, melt butter in a saucepan; sauté corn kernels and malunggay. Pour in pork stock, season accordingly, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and purée mixture in a blender. Right before serving, add heavy cream and simmer.

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3 Hot Stuff

chicken rolls stuffed with cheese, placed over rice and topped with cream sauce
Photo by Patrick Martires
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Practice subtlety in the introduction of unfamiliar ingredients to fussy palates. Why not stuff a popular dish like Chicken a la Kiev or a grilled squid with a stuffing that has malunggay? Malunggay might not be bursting with flavor but it has good texture to give a stuffing the heft that it needs, so tucking it into other meat and fish recipes works just as well! Even lumpia fillings can benefit from a boost of nutrition from these green leaves. Also, kutchay, or Chinese chives, usually used for some stuffing may be harder to source than the more accessible malunggay.

4 Bread and Butter

malunggay pan de sal stacked in a wicker basket
Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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Studies have shown that malunggay contains more potassium than bananas. And if you're wondering what to do with malunggay leaves, here's a quick tip: you can a add them to your banana loaf mixture right before baking or stir it into petite muffins with some chocolate chips, too. It's also so easy to incorporate malunggay leaves into your dough to add some interest and a whole lot of nutrition into your bread. Watch exactly how to make it happen with our malunggay pandesal recipe.

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5 Up for Crabs

tortang alimasag or crab cakes with sweet and sour sauce drizzled on top
Photo by Ocs Alvarez | Styling by Bel Alvarez
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The rest of the world may call them crab cakes, but around these parts, we simply refer to them as tortang alimasag. To make, sauté garlic, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Add fresh crab meat and chopped malunggay leaves, then season with salt and pepper. Stuff into crab shells, dip in beaten egg, and deep-fry until golden. Serve with a mound of steamed rice and sweet chili sauce. Want a more specific guide? Check out our tortang alimasag recipe.

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6 Siomai a Good Time

chicken siomai flatlay arranged in a bamboo steamer basket
Photo by Patrick Martires
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With a culture heavily influenced by the Chinese, Filipinos have made countless versions of this dainty dimsum delight. There's no better way to honor this heritage and stay loyal to local flavors than to combine malunggay and pechay in the classic siomai filling.

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7 Tea-rrific Brew

malunggay or moringa tea in a clear glass mug, with dried moringa leaves in a wooden bowl on the side
Photo by Shutterstock

How about a warm cup of malunggay tea? Get started by air-drying malunggay leaves for 2 to 3 days. Roast in a pan until crisp, then crush with a mortar and pestle until tiny granules form. Pack into tea bags and store until you're ready to brew them for your next tea party.

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8 Good, Butter, Best

three kinds of flavored compound butter flat laid on a marble surface
Photo by Riell Santos

Thinking of giving your meats, vegetables, and bread an extra punch of flavor? Turn to malunggay for a healthier take on compound butter. In a bowl, soften butter and add chopped malunggay, some lemon juice, and garlic powder. Spoon onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll up to form a log, and chill until ready to serve. A small slice of this homemade flavored butter will go a long way!

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9 Bottoms Up

fruity pink pina colada drink in a glass with a striped straw, in the background is a pineapple, an orange, mango, and strawberries
Photo by Tracy Monsod

Try making a piña colada malunggay smoothie to beat the heat! Pineapple chunks, coconut milk, malunggay leaves, and ice are all you need. Kids will also enjoy this berry malunggay recipe that's made with assorted frozen berries, bananas, and orange. You can also simply boil the leaves and add the infused water to your concoction. 

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10 Relish the Moment

ensalada or salad with salted egg, sitaw, tomatoes, green mangoes, red onions
Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

A Filipino meal is never complete without sawsawan (dipping sauce) on the side. This time around, trade in your bottles of soy sauce and patis for a refreshing ensalada. In a bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, salted eggs, and malunggay (to prepare, wash under running water and blanch until leaves turn dark). Finish it off with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of bagoong Balayan.

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11 Add to Adobo

lumpia with malunggay and fish in a glass cup, beside it is a clear bowl with adobong malunggay and tahong
Photo by Patrick Martires | Styling by Zee Castro-Talampas

Malunggay, we can admit, adds little to no flavor. However, it's easy to add to dishes exactly because of that. Its neutral flavor makes it the perfect addition when added to a flavorful sauce, like in this adobong malunggay at tahong recipe. You might not even notice it's there!

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What's your favorite way use malunggay?

Aside from these suggestions, there are so many more malunggay recipes you can try. You mustn't forget the classic munggo and tinola recipes!

Article was published in the January/February 2013 issue of Yummy magazine. Edits were made by Yummy.ph editors. 

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