Food for the Soul

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Polvorones de Malunggay (Moringa)

My husband went home from tennis bringing along with him moringa leaves. Undecided and mulling over what to do with them, I settled to delve the internet and dug more about Moringa. Take a look, you will be amazed by the wonders of this tree and the beneficial properties it can offer to us.

Moringa tree (malunggay in the Philippines) or known as "drumstick," is an exceptionally nutritious tree with variety of potential uses. The tree is slender with drooping branches, and grows up to 10 meters in height. The moringa tree grows very quickly- it comes into leaves at the end of the dry season, when other foods are the scarcest. It grows quickly in any tropical climate. Within six months of planting a seed or a piece of trunk, one can cut leaves from the tree to eat. It is considered to be one of the most useful trees since almost every part of it has some beneficial property. The leaf, which is the most potent part of the plant can be cooked or dried, pulverize into a fine powder that can be added to almost anything as nutrient supplement or to some dishes for added flavor.

Moringa is also known as the "miracle tree" and "tree of life", is a multi-purpose plant, as the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark of the tree can be utilized. For this reason, it has put moringa as the most nutritious vegetable plant around and has been used as fortificant in noodles, bread, biscuits, delic
acies, burgers, hotdogs, porridge and as tea due to its richness in vitamins and minerals.

getting ready to be sun dried

pulverized malunggay leaves

Nutritional and health benefits:
  1. Proven to increase the production of breast milk for nursing mothers.
  2. It has rich supply of nutrients, super-antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-aging compounds.
  3. It has vast health-promoting benefits on cardiovascular and endocrine.
  4. Improves sleep, mental clarity, wound healing, digestion and detoxification.
  5. Increases the natural defenses of the body.
  6. Provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain.
  7. Promotes the cell structure of the body, metabolism and natural serum cholesterol.
  8. Lowers the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  9. Promotes the normal functioning of the liver and the kidney.
  10. Beautifies the skin.
  11. Promotes energy, proper digestion, and healthy circulatory system.
  12. Supports the normal sugar level of the body.
  13. Gives a feeling of general wellness.
  14. The health benefits of moringa oil can be compared to sunflower oil and olive oil
Other benefits:
  1. Its seed has the full potential of producing bio-fuel, cooking oil, industrial oil, and lubricants
  2. Some parts of moringa tree can be used for animal feed, domestic cleanser, perfume, personal care products, cosmetics, dye, fertilizer, medicine, rope fiber, and as an agent for tanning hides.
  3. The flowers of the moringa plant can be used in making herbal tea for they add a refreshing aroma to the tea.
The paramount thing I like in moringa is that the leaves can be crushed into a fine powder providing nutrition, zest, and aroma to some of our favorite dishes. In my case, I have brought into play the powdered malunggay leaves for my polvoron. Here's my own version of polvoron de malunggay that your family including the kids might definitely enjoy.

3 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 c. ground peanuts (optional)
1 1/2 c. powdered milk
3/4 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. pulverized malunggay leaves
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Cooking Procedure:
  1. On a heavy skillet, toast flour over moderate heat until light brown while stirring constantly.
  2. Add pulverized malunggay leaves, powdered milk, peanuts for another 3 to 5 minutes. Removed from heat and let it cool.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until it has about the consistency of damp sand.
  4. Fill the polvoron molder (use round or oval shapes according to your preference) with the mixture. Press the mixture well using the back of a spoon so it will not become crumbly when released.
  5. Refrigerate in an air tight container until firm.
  6. Wrap them with colorful Japanese 5" x 5" squares paper. (I prefer Japanese paper over cellophane for earth saving reason).
Everybody is welcome to share your cooking experience. Enjoy this simple but healthy dessert. Have some to share! :)

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