Food and Drink

What Is Moringa and Why Will Everyone Be Talking About it in 2022?

Chef Pierre Thiam shares ideas for how to incorporate it into lattes, stews, and more.

Teranga
Teranga
Teranga

Every year, a seemingly “new” superfood arises from the book of ancient cure-alls. 2021, I would argue, was the year of the chickpea. It found its way into our pastas, our crusts, and even our cereal. The year before that, it was all about adaptogens, like reishi mushrooms and ashwagandha. But the superfood trend that everyone will be talking about in 2022 is-drum roll, please-moringa.The Whole Foods Trend Council has released its annual report of food trend predictions for 2022, and the “miracle tree” is one of them. Similarly, global technology research company Technavio reports that the moringa products market is set to grow by 2.85 billion from 2021 to 2025.

Moringa is native to India, though it is grown widely across Africa and Asia. For centuries, people have cultivated the plant for its countless medicinal properties. You’d be hard-pressed to find a health condition it does not alleviate.”In Senegal, it is believed to have so many properties that we call it ‘never die’-not only because of the impact it has on your health, but also because the leaves of the tree are evergreen,” says Senagalese chef Pierre Thiam.

Moringa can help to treat diabetes, inflammation, infection, joint pain, heart problems, and even cancer. The leaves have seven times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. The plant is also packed with calcium, protein, iron, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Thiam incorporates moringa in his product line, Yolélé, as a leafy addition to his signature fonio pilaf and chips. At Teranga, his fast casual food chain in Harlem, New York, he dresses salads with a moringa-ginger vinaigrette and also serves moringa-based drinks, like lattes and limeades.Thiam grew up eating the superfood in Senegal, particularly in his aunt’s thiéré mboum, a stew made of couscous and a moringa and peanut-based sauce. “I love cooking with moringa. It has a slight bitterness to it,” Thiam explains. “So that’s one of the reasons why it’s sometimes mixed with cabbage. That’s how my aunt does it. She blanches the leaves separately and adds them to the stew.”

In Senegal, it’s also common to combine moringa with smoked fish. According to Thiam, you’ll often find fishermen’s wives taking their husband’s smaller catches and cooking them in traditional smoking structures that are built right on the beach. “After the fish is smoked whole, you just use your fingers to crumble it and remove the bones,” Thiam says. “And that crumble is mixed up with the moringa leaf. So the moringa takes on this really smokey, fishy texture and flavor.”In the U.S., moringa is often found in powdered form, as it has a longer shelf life. The powder is perfect for adding some nutrition to your tea, or like Thiam does, in a latte. “It doesn’t have caffeine like matcha, but it definitely gives you a bit of a kick,” he says. “It digests easily, too, so it’s really a feel-good kind of ingredient.”

To replicate the fresh moringa leaves that are used in Senegal, Thiam suggests combining moringa powder with easily accessible produce-like spinach and kale-so that you get the flavor of moringa and the texture of a leafy green. Or simply add the powder to a stew, as a finishing ingredient.

Some of Thiam’s favorite moringa brands include Nutu and Kuli Kuli, two companies that seek to empower female farmers around the world through products like powders, tinctures, and energy bars.The desire to incorporate more nutritious foods into our diets is not a new phenomenon, and we’ve seen how the rediscovery of spices like turmeric have dominated the wellness space. But what sets moringa apart, and what will make it an ultra-buzzy ingredient in 2022, is its sustainability.

Because the plant grows abundantly with a very low water requirement, it’s well-suited for combating malnutrition in drought-prone areas. It’s even said to purify water. “We are facing a serious climate crisis,” Thiam says. “And the future of food security is going to be found in crops like moringa that are drought-resistant and nutritious.”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Food & Drink team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Food and Drink

Red Rooster Is Serving Free Chicken and Piping Hot Cash This Christmas in July

Get your early dose of festive cheer.

Red Rooster Christmas in July
Instagram / @redrooster_au

The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.

From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.

Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.

Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.

Terms and conditions apply. Visit Red Rooster’s Christmas in July to see all the deals.

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