Last week, I was at Indian grocers and fresh bunches of gongura (sorrel leaves) were calling out to me from almost every other shopping cart. And, that's how a bunch of fresh gongura leaves found its way into my pantry too! Even better, I have a telugu family (from Andhra) who recently moved in next door. Now, do the math yourself!!
Gongura leaves, one of the quintessential ingredients of Andhra cuisine, is known for its sourness. Pickled gongura is the most popular version of all. Gongura comes in two varieties, green stemmed and red stemmed leaves. The red stemmed variety is more sour than the green stemmed ones. You could probably use less number of chillies, if using the green stemmed variety.
Thanks to my neighbor, she was kind enough to share this 'authentic' recipe with me. Gongura thogayal came out to be tangy, spicy and really very tasty as a rice mix. I loved it even more with curd rice. Use only dry jar and spoons for longer shelf life. Store it in the refrigerator and the thogayal can be used for upto a week.
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 30 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - about a cup
Gongura leaves - 1 bunch (red stemmed variety)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil - 1/2 - 3/4 cup
Hing - 1 small piece
Fenugreek seeds - 1.5 tsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Dry red chillies - 12-15 nos
Salt - 2-3 tsp
Separate gongura leaves from the stem; discard the stem. Wash the gongura leaves in running tap water and pat them dry using a kitchen towel.
In a pan, heat a tsp of sesame oil, and roast hing, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies until crisp. Let it cool completely. When cooled, grind everything together into fine powder (do not add water).
In the same pan, add 1/4 cup of sesame oil and when hot, add the dried sorrel leaves, turmeric powder, salt and saute until the color changes and the leaves turns soft & mushy.
Add the powdered spices and mix & mash it up with the leaves to thogayal consistency with the back of a ladle.
In the meanwhile, heat a tsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds and mix it with the thogayal. Heat rest of the oil and add that to the thogayal too.
Spicy, tangy, tasty rice mix is ready for use!
- Don't fret at the number of red chillies used (just as I did when I got the recipe). You need them all to counter the tanginess of sorrel leaves.
- If you don't dry the sorrel leaves before frying, the oil might splatter as soon as you put the leaves into the oil.
- More the oil, better the taste and shelf life of the thogayal.
- Only sesame oil can bring out the authentic taste of the thogayal.