Filipino Malunggay Recipe

Got some Filipino vegetable called malunggay or kamunggay and don't know how to cook it? Here's a very simple malunggay recipe for you.

This malunggay recipe is the flavor of the orient, from Bicol Philippines. If you are a Bicolana, then you know what we're talking about. Give me some fresh coconut milk and let's get cooking here! 

Malunggay cooked in coconut milkMallunggay or Kamunggay cooked in coconut milk served with steamed rice and some lemosito, the little Filipino lemons. Like it hot? Add hot peppers!

So in other parts of the world, they call this vegetable Moringa. But we call this kamunggay or malunggay in the Philippines.

So I'm sticking to these names, malunggay that is!

This vegetable is known to have many health benefits. Growing up, my Mom used to say that eating this veggie is good for ulcers in the stomach. Mom knows best, we ate them all the time. We used it for food and for medicine.

Lactating mothers swear by eating malunggay to increase healthy breast milk production for their babies. But there are other health benefits ranging from curing anemia, ease arthritis and joint pain, fluid retention relief and etc.

This veggie is even used for viral and parasitic infections. People boil the bark and make it as medicinal tea as well. 

Mom used to blanch a few malunggay leaves and extract the green juices from it to cure our coughing when my siblings and I were kids. It was extremely bitter but yes, it worked! It loosens the phlegm and the cough goes away faster.

So let's get cooking!

Malunggay leaves

This malunggay recipe is cooked in coconut milk. Some Filipinos (depending where you came from in the Philippines) add this veggie to their fish stews and soups. This malunggay recipe is a vegetarian dish so we won't be using any animal anything here.

Malunggay leaves or kamunggay grows in a tropical climate so it loves the Philippine weather. This can grow into a tree. You pick the leaves in clusters and they can be added to just about anything you cook. 

As always, in Bicol, coconut milk is our best ingredient! We kick it up a notch with hot peppers, oh yeah!

  • A few stalks of kamunggay or malunggay leaves
  • 1 can or Fresh Coconut milk 
  • Shiitake mushrooms or any kind of mushrooms will do
  • Chopped garlic (I like it a lot)
  • Lemon grass (pounded a little to release flavor)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • (Optional) Hot pepper (sili) or hot sauce

NOTE: This is the vegetarian and vegan version. If you are not vegan, feel free to add anything you want. If you are not a Filipino vegetarian, you can add 'hipon' (shrimp) if you like. Filipinos love their fish. They usually add salted or smoked fish to their malunggay recipe.

In a wok or large saute pan, pour in the coconut milk in. Add the garlic, lemongrass and garlic. Also, add salt and pepper to taste. Cook it to a rolling boil.

When the coconut milk starts to boil, add the malunggay leaves, lower the heat and stir. 

It doesn't take long to cook this vegetable. Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice and some lemon. If you like it spicy, add some 'sili' hot pepper or hot sauce. 

Bicolanos like it hot. Bicol people are Oragon!

Definitely a taste of home.

Back in the day when I was little, we have so many malunggay trees so we cook it on a daily, almost. Mom would cook it in coconut milk with either hipon or salted fish. 

Whenever we got a hold of oyster mushrooms, I was happy as can be because mushrooms make this vegetable real tasty and so vegan!

Somehow, for me, mushrooms enhances its flavor and it taste cleaner. No fishy taste or anything. 

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