We Tamilians love our drumstick trees, and in villages every house would have one. In Chennai, however, only those with large plots of land have them and the rest of us have to buy drumstick leaves from stores. Drumstick leaves are used to make poriyal (fry). They are not usually combined with other vegetables, but non-vegetarians cook these with either fresh or dry prawns (karuvadu).
I came across this dish when it was presented in a cookery competition in the Women’s Christian College in the 1970s. I was fascinated by the colour, texture, and flavour of this methi with potato. However, the recipe won only a 3rd place in the contest. I asked my student Samyukta for the recipe, and she wrote it out for me immediately. The original recipe was very spicy as Samyukta is from Andhra Pradesh. I have toned down the spice to give it a more subtle flavour.
My 100th recipe 🙂 A long time ago, in 1973 to be exact, I developed a highly nutritious ragi (millet) cookie recipe when I attended a Summer Institute in foods and nutrition. It was a great success; unfortunately someone leaked the recipe to the bakers in Chennai from which ragi biscuits were developed and appeared in local bakeries (and are still popular today, though quite far removed from my original). I have revived my creation here and modified it for the 21st century (so this also does not resemble the original, but is much tastier and eggless).