Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Drumstick Curry (Munaga Kaaya Pulusu)

We were on the road, traveling for the past couple of days and returned “home sweet home”, last night. During our trip, we made a brief stop at Oak tree road, New Jersey to fill up our pantry and purchased lots Indian grocery and vegetables etc.

There are three main grocery shops on Oak tree road, NJ that I know of. Apna Bazar, Patel Brothers and Subji Mandi. I usually shop at Subji Mandi. Although I am satisfied with their prices and range of Indian stuff they carry, I am still curious to know about the other two shops. Are there any readers of this blog who are regular shoppers at Oak tree road, did or can compare the three and tell me which one you like better. I know it’s all personal, still I want to know what you think of these three shops and your experience of Oak tree road. Any tips and suggestions from a local shopper are greatly appreciated by this out of state, time constrained shopper on rush. Thanks.

Drumsticks (Munaga Kaayalu, Sajana)

One of the vegetables I bought at Subji Mandi are these drumsticks or Munaga Kaayalu. They look like musical sticks, so the name. Greenish firm outside but insides are filled with white colored mildly sweet flesh and tasty small white seeds. They are known to be a great source of Vitamin A. They taste great in sambhar and rasam but my favorite way to cook them is using my mother’s recipe, the traditional curry version with fresh coconut and tomatoes.


3 drumsticks – lightly scrapped with a peeler and cut into small finger length pieces.
3 big ripe juicy tomatoes – cut into small pieces
1 medium onion finely chopped lengthwise
½ tsp of each of red chilli powder and salt
Pinch of turmeric
Make a smooth paste
¼ cup of fresh coconut +
Half inch piece of ginger + 2 garlic cloves and 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro
For popu or tadka
½ teaspoon each of cumin, mustard seeds, minced garlic and few curry leaves

Drumstick (muranka) pieces, onion, coconut-ginger paste and tomato


In a pan, heat one tsp of peanut oil over medium heat. Add half tsp each of cumin, mustard seeds, when they start to splutter, add onions, and saut� them for few minutes. Cooking the Drumstick(Munaga Kaaya) curry Add tomatoes and half cup of water. Cook them covered until the tomatoes soften and turn into juicy mush.

At this stage, add the cut drumstick(Munaga Kaaya) pieces. Stir in coconut-cilantro paste, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and half glass of water. Cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until drumstick pieces are tender to touch but intact in shape. Serve warm.

Taste great with rice and with pulao.

Drumstick Curry and Rice
Drumstick Curry and Rice

The creamy flesh of drumsticks cooked in this way, soaks up the coconut milk-tomato juice and tastes sweet, spicy and tangy when chewed. Truly an Andhra delight to taste buds.

Recipe Source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Indian Vegetables,Munaga kaaya(DrumStick) (Wednesday September 28, 2005 at 2:17 pm- permalink)
Comments (38)

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38 comments for Drumstick Curry (Munaga Kaaya Pulusu) »

  1. Hi Indira- Shopping (and eating) at Oak tree road is a great experience. We visit NJ at least once in 6-8 months. I used to shop at sabzi mandi too until my last trip. During our recent trip, we saw that there was a new and improved Patel cash and carry shop a little down the road on the left (as you go from subzi mandi). We went there and the prices were similar. But the vegetables were fresher (SM’s vegetables can be sort of stale looking sometimes). They had a wonderful collection of frozen vegetables and flatbreads too.
    Another thing, the food (mostly chaat and hakka noodles and great sweets) at Mughal express is also great.

    Comment by mika — September 28, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

  2. Mika…for the past 2 years, we are visiting the NJ for every 3 to 4 months. Our oak tree road shopping experince is so rushed, usually stop, eat and shop.. all finished in 2 to 3 hours max. By night we have to reach the hotel, so the rush.
    I saw the new and big Patel cash and carry shop. I am going to take your word and next time shop there. Compare to subji mandi, it looks like a palace:)-. Thanks for the input, Mika.

    Comment by Indira — September 28, 2005 @ 2:38 pm

  3. I’m soooooo jealous of all these places you can shop at! 🙁 There’s nothing near where I live – no Indian grocery shops, I mean. You’re lucky, Indira & Mika 🙂

    Indira, a question… even if you scrape the outer hard green bits, you still cant eat the whole drumstick, but only chew them, right?

    Comment by shammi — September 28, 2005 @ 3:08 pm

  4. Ahh..Shammi.. No Indian grocery shops nearby, really, sometimes its real frustating, I know.
    Don’t be jealous, you know, we travelled about 450 miles(almost 7 hours)by car to fill up the pantry, can you believe that?
    Yep, you got it, that outer part is hard to digest so that only way to eat them is by chewing and sucking the flesh inside.

    Comment by Indira — September 28, 2005 @ 3:50 pm

  5. I am incredibly jealous of your find of fresh drumstick! I’ve only been able to find it in a can, I can only imagine the wonderful flavor of the fresh variety. *sigh*

    Comment by Jennifer — September 28, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

  6. Drumsticks are so much fun to eat! We cooked them as part of bisi-bele baath recently and spent the entire evening warning people not to eat them whole 🙂 Your preparation looks delicious!
    Off-topic: I tagged you for the 23/5 meme, in case you have time to write it…no pressure 🙂

    Comment by Nupur — September 28, 2005 @ 8:36 pm

  7. WOW!
    I have never even heard of these veggies…. the indian grocers here don’t really carry fresh veggies but I am going to try and find them, I wonder what season they would be avaliable here?

    Comment by clare eats — September 28, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

  8. I am going to try this variation next time. 🙂

    If anyone of you visit Canada – Torono/Montreal/Ottawa/Vancouver. Be sure to shop. We can get fresh veggies even during the winter. I used to crave for curry leaves. Now, I can get everything from Curry leaves to drum stick to Methi. I found Methi in general stores too.*can you believe it*

    Comment by Mathy — September 29, 2005 @ 1:29 am

  9. Hi! I just discovered your wonderful blog through the DMBLGIT no 9 and it’s so nice to be able to gloat over your great recipes and pictures! I lived in London for a year and I was fortunate enough to live very close to some Indian quarters so I had wonderful restaurants to go to and my love for Indian food was consolidated there. Now I live in Italy and it’s difficult to find any Indian restaurants here so I will visit you instead! Do you by any chance know of any good Indian resturants in Tuscany??

    Comment by Ilva — September 29, 2005 @ 3:40 am

  10. Jennifer… drumsticks in can? that’s news to me. Where did you buy them? You can buy fresh or frozen drumstick pieces in your local Indian store. Fresh ones are the best tastewise:)

    Nupur…that’s funny:)! Do you mind if I pass on this meme. This meme really feels like homework, I don’t want to do it. please:)

    Clare… Usually fresh drumsticks are available here in spring and summer seasons. You can buy frozen cut drumstick(Saragawa) pieces year round in an Indian grocery shop.

    Mathy…We are planning to visit Toronto this winter. Thanks for the information.
    Ilva… Thanks. I don’t know any, did you try other Italian food bloggers?

    Comment by Indira — September 29, 2005 @ 8:44 am

  11. Indira,

    I wil have to look for these drumsticks! I have a question though. So when you eat them you chew on them to get the inside flesh leaving the outside? I am alittle confused!

    Comment by Milgwimper — September 29, 2005 @ 12:30 pm

  12. Milgwimper:
    Drumsticks are of triangular shape and have three sides. When cooked properly, these can be separated into three small pieces. You can eat the tasty inside part after splitting. Or you can eat the whole piece of drumstick, consuming the tasty part and leaving out the hard part.(chew the whole drumstick piece, after one or two minutes of chewing, the only thing that remain in your mouth is undigestible grass like hard outer part)

    Due to lack of proper words, I might have not explained clearly, but if you cook and start eating you’ll understand how tasty and easy these are to eat.

    Comment by Indira — September 29, 2005 @ 1:19 pm

  13. Indira- there seems to be some questions regarding how to eat a drumstick. I normally split it open as you said and I scrape out the inside flesh seed and all with my thumb and discard the peel. Probably I would do the same if I were eating with a fork (but normally we in India eat with our hands).

    Comment by mika — September 29, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

  14. Oh, drumsticks, one of my favourites. I usually follow a method similar to mika, or split the stick open and drag it across my teeth like an artichoke leaf.

    Comment by tara — September 29, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

  15. Hey Indira,

    You seem to know so much about Andhra cuisine. I have a request for you. Can you post the recipe to make Ulava charu if you know how to make it ?
    I always heard ppl singing praises about it but never had it myself. But would definitely like to try make it.


    Comment by Sakhiya — September 29, 2005 @ 6:14 pm

  16. I love your recipes , and whenever I can , I try to recreate them . I have a doubt with this one , what happened with the coconut , cilantro paste ?

    Comment by jp — September 30, 2005 @ 9:14 am

  17. Thanks Mika and Tara for helping me out.

    Sakhiya..Thanks but I never made ‘ulava chaaru’ at home before. I am going to try it soon.

    JP..I just made the correction. Thanks for your comment and the link in your blog. I wish I’d understand what you are writing in your blog. Maybe I will try the Google language tools. Thanks again!

    Comment by Indira — September 30, 2005 @ 9:36 am

  18. I don’t think that using the google language tool is such a good idea , because you will surelly end up with a lot of weird phrases , most of the times lacking any meaning .

    Comment by jp — September 30, 2005 @ 11:52 am

  19. I live in the Oak Tree Road area and love Patels Cash and Carry. They have a large selection of groceries and fresh vegetables. I find shopping to be a joy there.

    Comment by Marisa — November 17, 2005 @ 10:44 am

  20. Hello Marisa,
    How lucky for you. Just blocks from Patel and subji mandi. I wish, I’d live there, it’s almost living like in India.

    Comment by Indira — November 17, 2005 @ 11:04 am

  21. Hi Indira,

    We came across your site while trying to find a recipe for a “foogarth” (excuse the spelling) made from the flesh of the drumstick. This was a favourite at the family table back home and we are longing to try to recreate it with the fresh drumsticks we get here in Toronto. Any ideas? Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

    Joan Peters

    Indira replies:
    Hi Peters, I’ve no idea about ‘foogarth’. Sorrry. Is it an Indian recipe? The recipes I know with drumsticks usually are with whole drumstick, white flesh and the green covering outside. My favorites are 1- this recipe of drumstick curry and another is with toor dal(lentils) as sambhar.

    Comment by Doug Peters — April 8, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  22. […] Drumstick Curry (Munaga Kaaya Pulusu) from Mahanandi […]

    Pingback by Out Of The Garden » A Delicious Directory of Drumsticks — June 14, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  23. This sounds great. How many people will this recipe serve as an entree?

    Comment by Sacha — July 20, 2006 @ 6:33 pm

  24. Hi Indira,

    I made munaga kaya pulusu for dinner today, it tasted yummy, we loved it!
    thanks a bunch for all the easy to make-tasty recipies!

    Comment by Menaka — July 23, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  25. I tried out this recipe today. it was tooooooooo good:)

    Comment by Sumana Vishwanath — August 23, 2006 @ 3:09 am

  26. hi, i live in sydney australia,i’am going to try munaga kayala pulusu tonight,i’am sure it’ll turn out good. thank u.

    Comment by mamta — December 2, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

  27. Indira, what a wonderful recipe. I love drumsticks, they are readily available in my country. I’ve been visiting your blog for many months now, I love it. I just tried this recipe and it’s turned out good, but my mil insists that the coconut paste in this recipe should be smooth. Otherwise she says it’s tasty. My 5 year old loves drumsticks too, she had such fun learning how to eat them.

    Comment by Taiba — March 23, 2007 @ 12:38 am

  28. Hi! Indira, I am regular shopper at Oak tree road. Apna Bazar is cheaper than other tow places but some times you might not get all vegitables very fresh. But Subji mandi little expensive but mostly you will get better stuff. As per Patel cash and carry prices are high and vegitable are not fresh. So don’t go to patel cash and carry. Try Apna bazaar once for a change and you may like it. -Ram

    Comment by Ram — April 27, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  29. Hi Indira and all others,

    I live pretty close to Oak tree Rd (10- 15 minutes drive) from my home and I often go to shopping there.
    I like subzi mundi the best and Apna bazzar both are equally good in vegetables. I get the kind of brinjals we get in India in Apna Bazzar sometimes. Like Ram told try Apna bazzar for a change.
    Coming to Drum sticks you are right Indira, they are very tasty and delicious and any one who trie them will love them and they are so many recipes with it. I love to make gravy stuff with it like Sambar, rasam, Pulusu etc with in.
    Any comments?

    Comment by Saru — June 4, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  30. hi friend,
    how r u? i attracted ur way of curries settings. i like ur receipes so much. i tried chikkudu curry on yesterday. that is delicious. i prepared munaga curry i hope u get so many varieties gave to us. thank u so much

    Comment by kavitha — June 29, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  31. After I found your blog we almost became vegetarians. NO eatouts..your recipies and the way you present makes me try them. This is really cool..My husband is aood cook too..I showed him your blog..he said WOW,this is fantastic..
    We live in NJ..I like to shop vegetables in Patel cash and cary(fresh on saturday morning) and in Apnabazar..Sabzi mandi is really big..they carry lots of stuff,be sure to check the date on the packed foods,spices,powders sabzi mandi. Don’t miss the Hotbreads cake or pastry you will love it.

    Comment by Sudha — February 25, 2008 @ 9:01 am

  32. I made this recipe after finding a moringa tree growing over into a customers yard. I loved it but will be picking larger pods next time.

    Comment by Richard Noonan — May 18, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  33. My wife is a big fan of this recipe site and she’s made many dishes based on and/or inspired by you. As for this particular dish, she customized it further with some more coconut milk – we being Malayalis basically :D.

    I see that Indira and Vijay are behind this effort which is highly successful as I see. Congratulations to you both and best wishes for the future.


    Comment by Ajith Edassery — September 27, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

  34. I tried this drumstick curry and it was delicious!! My husband and I just loved it. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

    Comment by Priya — November 5, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  35. HI!! I tried the drumstick curry….it was awesome…..My husband n me just loved it….thank u so much for the recipe. I am going to try many more recipe’s…I love cooking and trying new things makes it more fun and enjoyable. I love your blog.

    Comment by Renuka — May 24, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  36. Hi.
    I cooked this drumstick curry today
    Was awesome. great taste
    my wife liked it a lot
    Maya Bazaar style 🙂

    Toronto, Canada

    Comment by Ravi — December 10, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  37. I cooked this today. It is very tasty! Thank you for the recipe.

    Comment by Miska — September 3, 2010 @ 3:08 am

  38. HI,
    I made this. very delicious.Thx

    Comment by vini — February 5, 2013 @ 5:30 am

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