Moringa Oleifera – The Miracle Tree


I always love moringa curry; but I never imagine that the tree is so ‘special’ until highlighted by Dr. Azahar. According to Dr. Azahar moringa, murunggai, merunggai, kelo, or ‘mmungga’ (in Trengganuspeak) is rich in anti-oxidant and contains 7 times the vitamin C in orange, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk and 3 times the potassium in bananas.

Moringa – compared with other foods

Impressed by the information, I did some reading on moringa. Moringa is a miracle tree and is one of the world most nutritious crops. It grows throughout the tropics and thrive in impossible places; even in bad soil. Not only it is a great source of nutrition for both human and animals, it can also be used for medicine (such as in fighting HIV and diabetes), dye water purification and biofuel.

The leaves contain complete protein which is rare for a plant. The growing tips and young leaves are tasty and very rich in iron. It is also good for sanctuary animal feed and livestock forage . The flowers are said to be effective in fighting cold and can be cooked as well as for making tea. They are also good for bee keepers. The pods and roots are edible too. The seeds can used to purify water by settling out sediment and organisms. Unlike Jatropha oil, the oil from moringa seeds is beneficial not only for making biofuel but also for human. The seeds are also effective against skin infection as they contain antibiotic.

[Moringa tree & fruit – courtesy of the respective sites]

This extremely fast growing tree can be planted from direct seeding, transplanting or using hard stem cutting. Anyway there are claims that moringa ‘attracts’ certain caterpillars that can cause allergic reaction to skin; if come in contact.

So now I have more good reasons to enjoy mum’s moringa curry. Imagine, eating the soft and tasty seeds and chewing on the skin at the end of the meal… plus all the vitamins, minerals and much more. Anyway sad to say that mum was down with flu last weekend, so no moringa curry for me this week! How I wish that I could give mum some moringa tea. I have not tried the moringa leaves but nenek(my grandma) used to fry them with eggs for omelets. And the Indians cook them in so many ways. The Sri Lankan love them too.

Note: I can’t recall if my Sri Lankan friend Aishah Salihue has a moringa tree among many other trees in her beautiful backyard in California. Her mum cooks wonderful vegetable dishes and I’m sure that her moringa dishes are delicious too!

Cicoh (Dip)


In Trengganuspeak we have two different words to describe the different manners of dipping. If a person dip just a small portion of (for example) a banana (pisang) in honey (madu); in Trengganuspeak we name the dipping process as ‘cicoh’. So we’ll say ‘pisang cicoh madu‘. But if a person dip the whole banana in honey; the dipping process is no more cicoh but celok. Hence we now say ‘pisang celok madu‘.

Trengganufolks like to ‘cicoh‘ (dip) their crackers, cookies, certain types of bread and cakes in their drinks. The most preferred drinks for dipping are coffee, tea and ‘Milo’. I’m not so sure if fresh fruit juice and fizzy drinks are also used for dippings. Anyway my siblings and I love to cicoh our cookies and crackers in ‘Milo‘. ‘Biskuk jagung’ (cream cracker) also known as ‘biskuk pak ssegi’ (according to mum) is usually eaten dipped in drinks – in our case, we dip the crackers in ‘Milo‘. Other cookies such as ‘Tiger Biskuat‘, ‘Tiger Susu’ and ‘Biskuk Marie’ are also tasty for cicoh ‘Milo’. During the Eid celebrations I often saw people cicoh their ‘biskuk raya’ (cookies baked for Eid) in their drinks back in Kuala Terengganu; but I prefer to eat my Eid cookies just the way they were.

One should try ‘buoh ulu cicoh Milo‘. ‘Buoh ulu’ or bahulu is a Malaysian sweet cake made from eggs, flour and sugar. They can be soft or crisp depending on how long they were baked. ‘Buoh ulu’ is actually tasty on its own but when dipped in ‘Milo’ -mmm… it surely tastes a lot better. The creamy and chocolaty taste of ‘Milo’ really enhanced the lovely taste of ‘buoh ulu‘. The ‘buoh ulu’ will then be very soft and just melt in my mouth. Sometimes I over ‘cicoh’ (over dip) the ‘buoh ulu’ until parts of my ‘buoh ulu’ sink to the bottom of my ‘Milo‘. I would then use a spoon to dig out my delicious ‘buoh ulu‘. Anyway not all type of cakes would be tasty when dip in drinks. I haven’t heard of anyone who dip their cheese cake or ‘nganang’ (a traditional Trengganu sweet cakes) in their drinks… but who knows?

Nenek (my grandmother) and dad loves to ‘cicoh’ their ‘roti kerah Kemamang’ (a special hard, dry and crispy bread from a district in Terengganu named Kemaman) in ‘kawe’ (black coffee). Another of nenek’s favourite is ‘kayu khammak’(a type of local Terengganu fried bread) cicoh tey o’ (plain tea). I do not like ‘kayu khammak cicoh air’ (drinks) for the drink will then become oily and I do not fancy drinking oily drinks. Oh yes; we drink the leftover drink used for dipping.

One should be creative in thinking of what to ‘cicoh’ in their drinks and of the type of drinks to choose as ‘nnyiccoh’ (a drink to cicoh in). Anyway don’t ever ‘cicoh’ your ‘ikang panggang’ (grilled fish) in your ‘kawe ‘(black coffee) or any other drink for it will then taste ‘anye’. Normally we ‘cicoh’ sweet or rather plain tasted food (eg: white bread) in our drinks but I know a few people who love the taste of ‘khepok kkeping’ (fish cracker) and ‘pulok lepa (please refer to Delicious Pulok) cicoh kawe‘; and I don’t mind to give that a try, I guess…

I perfectly understand the difference between ‘cicoh’ and ‘celok’ but when dad said ‘kicoh‘, I was puzzled. Fortunately mum was around and explained the meaning of ‘kicoh‘. So, if you plan to try dipping your ‘bouh ulu’ in your drink; please remember to ‘cicoh selo-selo’ (dip slowly) for if you over ‘cicoh’ it will be no more ‘cicoh’ but ‘celok‘ (dunk) and if that happens your ‘buoh ulu’ will sink to the bottom of your drink. But it is alright because you can still scoop the ‘buoh ulu’ with a spoon and eat it. However, never ever ‘kicoh’ (rinse) your ‘buoh ulu’ in your drink for it will break to tiny pieces and become too messy to be eaten.

Note: The ‘c’s in cicoh and celok are pronounced as the pronunciation of ‘ch’ in English. The act of ‘makang cicoh air’ (dipping food in drinks) should not be done in fancy restaurants or while eating in another people’s house. Infact it should not be done even in our house, if we have guests around. Anyway one can enjoy their food ‘cicoh air’ in food stalls, ordinary restaurants, very close relatives’ and friends’ houses (in Trengganu). Remember to ‘irup sapa abih’ (finish up) your drink after you are done dipping.