Brisk Breakfast · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Healthy Murungai Ilai Adai/Drumstick Leaf Adai ( A savoury pancake made with brown rice and drumstick leaves)

My earliest love for the Moringa/Drumstick Plant was probably from when I was a little kid. Our home in Chennai had all sorts of plans and flowers – Coconut Trees, Mango Trees, Lemon tree, banana plant, drumstick or Moringa Tree, lovely fragrant roses, hibiscus and jasmine. I sometimes wonder how I left all of them to come to live in apartments in the midst of the whirlpool of city life. My earliest games were always cooking in the backyard, under the cool branches of the mango tree.We would make our “food” and serve them on coconut shells , fashion  mud pies with mud and water, eat on fresh green banana leaf that I would tear off the plant, much to the chagrin of my parents. We would pretend that it was our home, make a little “idol” of our “God” and offer fresh flowers to “Him”…Sometimes if its too hot, Appa would get the gardener to cut off some tender coconuts for us, and we would enjoy our afternoons this way. Lovely lazy summers. I sometimes miss those days of my childhood…

Amma made Muringa Yelai Adai pretty often as I can remember as  her raw materials for this dish were all available all the time! We would all help her in the laborious task of separating the tender leaves from the stem . She always said that Moringa leaves were very good for health and would make Adai or a kootu. My favourite part was having it hot with a dollop of butter,to enjoy portions of adai soaked in melted butter. My sunday was made!!! Moringa Leaves are the most nutritious of the plant itself asa they are loaded with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, ProVitamin A, Beta Carotene, and protien.

Nutrients Common food Moringa Leaves
Vitamin A Carrot 1.8 mg 6.8 mg
Calcium Milk 120 mg 440 mg
Potassium Banana 88 mg 259 mg
Protein Yogurt 3.1 g 6.7 g
Vitamin C Orange 30 mg 220 mg

Its interesting to see that the drumstick leaves have 4-5 times more of these vitamins as compared to the most common source. Which explains, why I seek them out in Indian stores, take out the tender leaves, with the help of my daughter, all the time reliving my childhood stories with her….


1 Cup idli Rice.

1/2 Cup Brown Rice.

1/2 Cup Cracked Wheat.

A handful of urad dhal.

1 Cup Drumstick Leaves packed.

1/4 Cup Fresh Coconut Grated.

Salt to taste.



  • Soak the brown rice and the idli rice along with the urad dhal and cracked wheat for about 3-4 hours.
  • Remove the drumstick leaves from the stalks and dunk them in to a bowl of cold water and give them a good wash. Set aside to drain in a collander.
  • Grind the brown rice, idli rice,cracked wheat  and urad dhal with water to make a slightly gritty batter.
  • Add salt, hing, coconut and give it a quick pulse.
  • Transfer to a shallow bowl and add water to adjust the consistency.
  • Now add the washed drumstick leaves to the batter and mix it all in.
  • Take your cast iron tava and smear it with a little gingely oil.
  • Pour out the batter almost like an adai – not too thin and drizzle a little oil on all sides.
  • Cook the adai on medium heat on both sides and serve HOT with a dollop of butter.
  • Peace Out!!!


6 thoughts on “Healthy Murungai Ilai Adai/Drumstick Leaf Adai ( A savoury pancake made with brown rice and drumstick leaves)

  1. One thing etch in my memory about moringa leaves is that they are the richest source of iron as I had watched a morning show in Sun Tv years ago. The adai seems totally yummiliciously loaded!

  2. adai looks super delicious ,heard a lot about this adai but never got a chance to taste it ,getting these leaves itself a big issue now,i will surely try when ever i get them…

  3. That’s a great adai.

    Btw is the Chennai house still maintained that way. Will I get an invite to your garden?

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