1. Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a hot skillet. Set aside. Roast the red chiles then them aside. When cool, grind to a powder in a spice grinder.

2. In a blender or food processor grind the onions to a rough paste. Set aside. Grind the tomatoes, garlic and ginger to a paste and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the drumstick pieces and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the ground onions and fry them with the drumsticks for 3 minutes. Stir in ½ cup of water. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let the drumsticks simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, chile and turmeric. Stir well to mix. Let the spices cook for a few minutes then add the ground tomato-ginger-garlic paste to the pot. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring well. Stir in the salt and a ½ cup of water to form a smooth paste. If it is too thick, add a bit more water.  Cook for 10 minutes until the gravy is cooked and the drumsticks are tender. Add more salt as desired.

6. Transfer the drumstick masala to a serving bowl.

7. Heat the oil for the Tempering Spices in the skillet. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour the contents of the skillet over the drumsticks. Garnish with a few cilantro sprigs.


- Serve with plain rice and pappads.

During my last trip to the Indian grocery store I was lucky enough to find fresh drumsticks that were on sale. These strange looking green fruit are actually the immature seedpods from the horseradish tree that are native to India and Asia. They don’t look or taste like fruit and are used as though they were vegetables. Each pod is about 2 to 3 feet long and triangular in shape, not round. If I cut across one, you can see that the inside flesh is three sided with seeds in the center. The outside ridges contain long thick fibers that are very tough (or, maybe, impossible) to chew. These are trimmed before cooking or left on and the flesh is eaten away like an artichoke leaf.

I have seen drumsticks added most often to Sambar as an extra “goodie”. They add a fresh green color to a brown lentil stew and a complimentary taste. My husband always takes the bowl with extra drumstick pieces because they are so tasty. He picks them out of the bowl and eats them first before eating the rest of the Sambar.

For a change of pace I thought I would make a side dish with my drumsticks, one with spices but not much curry. I served it to my drumstick-loving husband and it was a hit. It is easy to make and an excellent Indian vegetarian recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!


6 drumsticks, cleaned and cut into 3-inch pieces, then cut

2 red onions, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
3-4 dried red chiles
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs oil
cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Tempering Spices:
1 tsp oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
6-7 curry leaves 

Spiced Drumstick Masala [Indian Vegetarian recipe]