October 29, 2012

Gongura pappu / Khatta Bhaji

Every place has a signature dish of their own. Chettinad kuzhi paniyaram, Mumbai Vada-pav, Kolkata Rosagulla, Perumal kovil Puliyodharai - to name a few, but the list goes on. One such quintessential dish from Andhra is Gongura pickle. These days, you get a lot of bottled gongura pickle in the market, but nothing can stand upto the authentic and original taste of home-made gongura pickle. 

Recently, we visited one of our friend's family from Andhra where I got to taste home-made gongura pickle. Gongura pickle with white rice and little ghee - incredible combo and unbelievable taste!! The tanginess from gongura leaves, spiciness from chillies, and the succulent flavor of garlic infused sesame oil is truly very appetizing. By the time we left, I was totally inspired to make some recipe with gongura leaves and that 's how ended up with this one here!

Gongura pappu is a dal stew made with sour greens and other spices. Hands down, gongura was the highlight of this dish. Gongura has a distinctive sour taste that tickles your taste buds, refreshes your palate and wakes up your senses that you crave more and more of the dish. Definitely one of the best ways to add some greens to your kid's diet - they will enjoy the zing that the sourness brings!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 10 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Serves - 3 - 4

Toor dal - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Gongura leaves - 1 medium sized bunch
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 3 nos (halved)
Green chilles - 3 nos (slit)
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Garlic cloves - 3 nos
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (or as preferred)
Curry leaves - 6-8 nos
Salt - to taste

Separate gongura leaves from the stem; discard the stem. Wash gongura leaves in running tap water and pat them dry using a kitchen towel.

Pressure cook 1 cup of toor dal with 2 cups of water & turmeric powder for upto 4 whistles. Let it cool and after all the pressure is released, mash the dal with the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside.

Heat ghee in a pan, splutter mustard seeds. Add urad dal and fry until golden brown. Add green chillies, red chillies, curry leaves, hing, garlic and fry until garlic changes color and a nice aroma fills your kitchen.

Add gongura leaves and saute until the leaves changes its color and turns soft and mushy. Mash the leaves completely using the back of a spoon.

To this, add the mashed dal, required salt, red chilli powder, and 1 cup of water. Mix well and let it boil until the raw smell of the red chilli powder is gone. If you think the dal is too watery, heat until it reaches the desired consistency.

Remove from heat and serve it with rice/roti.

- You can also cook gongura leaves in pressure cooker for upto 2 whistles. Don' t try to cook dal & gongura leaves together, as the dal will not get cooked due to the tartness from gongura leaves.
- You can also add cumin seeds when tempering, I skipped it.
- If you like, you can also add chopped onions/tomatoes after tempering. Saute onion until translucent followed by tomatoes. Add gongura leaves only after the tomatoes are completely cooked.
- Replace ghee with oil for vegan option.

Linking this to "Lets Cook - Protein Rich Food" event hosted by Radhika of Tickling Palates.

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