Malunggay (Moringga) is a local superfood embraced for its highly dense nutrient content. This export-favorite has four times the calcium and two times the protein of cow’s milk, seven times the vitamin C of orange, three times the potassium of bananas and four times the vitamin A of carrots plus four times the iron of Spinach. So the next time a 90s sales guy tries to sell you milk as nature’s nutritionally complete formula, show him the Google searched profile of Malunggay. Everyone can use the update.
You know how all the good in this country somehow always manages to benefit foreigners abroad? Like Ylang-ylang, Turmeric, VCO and yes, even Malunggay.
Moringga is successfully ground and exported overseas where it is sold at a premium, particularly in Japan. In fact, when I was staying in Japan to study macrobiotics, I couldn’t even afford Malunggay!
So living in Manila and having access to it for barely anything is a real gift. One that we should not take for granted. It’s really frustrating though that despite Malunggay being an all-season plant, it’s barely available in groceries and is mostly found only in farmers markets (palengke). This is mostly because Malunggay has little to no cash-value for traders, unlike say, Lettuce or Kale which gets sold for a lot. Nevertheless, it is irresponsible for us not to take advantage of the Philippine Superfood which is even known to many as a cure-all. Plus, it’s all organic.
Here are fun ways to incorporate Malunggay in your diet:
- Add it on stews
It doesn’t only work well with Monggo, but pretty much any lentil, grain and vegetable soups and stews. Malunggay is a super green, it’s rich in Chlorophyll which is the perfect vitamin-infused add-on to a protein-rich dish like stews.
- Turn it to pesto!
Half it with Basil then top it on salads, pizza, pasta sauces and risottos and you have an instant Umami Superfood add-on to make carb-night less guilty.
- Drink it
Juice it, blend it or take it as tea. Use the stems and even the flowers, trust me they taste better.
- Dry it
You know how both Spirulina and Chlorella, which we use on smoothies are so expensive? Well so is Moringga abroad, thankfully we don’t have to import it to get its benefit. Make your own Moringga powder by drying fresh Malunggay leaves:Bake it at 40 C for 1 hour or more depending how much you’re making. Don’t have an oven? Spread Malunggay leaves on a baking sheet then sun-dry it on high noon until moisture is completely gone.
- Grow it
Seriously, it’s the easiest to plant. It can grow on a pot by your window, on your balcony or backyard. Use your neighbors empty lot or that plant box by your gate. It’s drought resistant and sprouts year-round too. No excuses.