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:

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1 Pesto Perfecto

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 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. Add to your favorite noodles and top with grilled shrimps or chicken.    

Aside from tinola, you can also use malunggay leaves for pesto too!

Use this local version of pesto in pasta, on bread, or even as a marinade for meat and seafood.

Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Cream of the Crop

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Taking cues from the classic suam na mais, this creamy corn soup is your best bet to combat the sniffles. 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.

Good-for-you malunggay is a healthy addition to this simple corn soup!

Photo by Patrick Martires

3 Hot Stuff

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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 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.

Here's the perfect main dish for Sunday lunch with the whole family. Though already well-seasoned, this dish is made even better when served with a dipping sauce of toyomansi.

Fried chicken with cheesy centers? Yes, please!

Nothing makes you crave for lumpiang Shanghai more than the sound of the fried, crispy wrapper. Enjoy with a spicy vinegar blend like sinamak or with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

This Filipino bread is a breakfast staple and is studded with malunggay leaves.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

4 Bread and Butter

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Studies have shown that malunggay contains more potassium than bananas. Add malunggay leaves 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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Use this recipe to make this nutrient-packed pandesal.

This tender and sweet loaf can be eaten at either room temperature or sliced straight from the ref.

Photo by Photography by Ocs Alvarez | Styling by Bel Alvarez

5 Up for Crabs

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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.

Introduce this updated Pinoy classic to the family as a main dish or merienda.

Photo by Patrick Martires

6 Siomai a Good Time

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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.

Make siomai at home!

7 Tea-rrific Brew

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.

Photo by Riell Santos

8 Good, Butter, Best

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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 seasoned butter will go a long way!

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Dress up your regular butter with lots of flavor!

9 Bottoms Up

Try making a piña colada malunggay smoothie to beat the heat! Pineapple chunks, coconut milk, malunggay leaves, and ice are all you need. You can also simply boil the leaves and add the infused water to your concoction.

You can enjoy this blended drink of fruits and coconut milk no matter the season!

10 Relish the Moment

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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This pickled green papaya recipe is a Pinoy staple!

Photo by Patrick Martires | Styling by Zee Castro-Talampas

11 Add to Adobo

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 adobo. You might not even notice it's there!

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The malunggay and iodine-rich mussels combo make this a nourishing meal.

What's your favorite way use malunggay? These suggestions are just ones you probably haven't tried yet. 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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