Famous for its flavour
Gongura is a leafy vegetable known for its nutrient benefits. It is famous in South India particularly the state of Andhra Pradesh. Gongura is also known as Red Sorrel Leaves. It also goes by the name Hibiscus Cannabinus or Hibiscus Sabdariffa. In layman terms it would be Kenaf and Roselle.
In the state of Maharashtra, gongura is called Ambaadi. It is defined by it slightly sour taste. The sourness is enhanced when it is added to dal or made in to some kind of a preparation. Together with spices and condiments gongura or ambadi comes in to its own as a specialised flavour.
The taste of Sour and Spice
Now here is a beautiful leafy vegetable that uses its own sour taste to enhance pickles, curries, dals and even mixed vegetable preparations. It’s a versatile vegetable that can even be used in the preparation of Mutton and Chicken.
Gongura … a Speciality
Given its many uses and benefits, Gongura can be used to make a wide variety of dishes where it adds its unique sour tangy and slightly acidic taste to enhance the flavours of other ingredients.
Use tender green leaves of the Gongura plant for a less sour taste. The more mature the leaf the stronger is the sourness. The Dal is a lot like your Palak or spinach dal but this has a more robust flavour.
Serving Gongura Dal
Gongura dal is also called “Khatta Bhaji” or Sour Vegetable preparation. It goes well when served and presented with rice, pickles and papads. You can also have it with chapatis.
Papad is the Indian name for a lentil based flat crisp disc something like a tortilla. It can be made with any lentil ground in to a flour then kneaded like dough and rolled in to discs which are then left to dry.
These discs can be roasted on an open flame or fried in oil. They make a nice addition to any meal.
A brief summary of Gongura Dal
We use Tur Dal or split yellow Pigeon Peas to make Gongura Dal. But there are people who like to use Chana Dal or Bengal Gram also. One has to be careful using the leaves as too much will result in an overly sour product.
Pluck the leaves lean from the stems. Use only the tender leaves. Avoid using the bigger and more mature leaves as they can be quite strong in taste before you start preparing and cooking the dish.
Wash properly and keep aside to drain and dry.
There are two ways of making Gongura Dal. You can either pressure cook the Lentils and the leaves separately and then blend them together in a wok or saucepan along with the tempering or you can pressure cook them together and then do the tempering.
Today we will look at making it together in a pressure cooker.
You need… for the Gongura Dal
- A pressure cooker
- 3/4th measure Tur Dal
- 1 measure fine chopped Gongura Leaves
- 1 medium onion cut small
- 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1-3 green chillies but this is optional or as per your taste
For the tempering
- 2 teaspoon Oil or ghee
- 1/4th teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4th teaspoon mustard seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1/4th teaspoon asafoetida or Hing
- 3-4 garlic flakes
- 2 dry red chillies broken up
- Salt to taste
- Pinch sugar
How to make
Soak your Gongura Leaves for some time in salt water.
Take your pressure cooker,
add tur dal,
add 2 measures water
add pinch asafoetida
add a few drops of oil
add ping turmeric
Pressure cook for 1-2 whistles.
Once pressure drops, open the cooker,
Add the Gongura Leaves
Add Green chillies
Don’t worry if your Gongura Dal looks a tad under done. It will be done fully when you give it a pressure again.
Now pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. When done the dal should be a bit squishy and the leaves soft. Pour out into a serving bowl.
Now add the tempering
Take a small wok, add oil or ghee
Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds wait for them to pop
Add garlic, red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
Fry a little
Don’t let the tempering burn.
Pour your tempering over the Gongura Dal. Serve hot with pickle, papad, rice or chapatis.
- Gongura leaves are a good source of folate and vitamin B6. These two are essential for our system to keep levels of a dangerous molecule called Homocysteine.
- Not only that Gongura leaves are a good source of Iron, vitamins C, folic acid and antioxidants that is essential for the human body’s nutritive requirements. There is plenty of Calcium, Vitamin A and Riboflavin which is good for your cardiovascular health.
- Gongura Dal is best eaten fresh and hot and keeping for long may alter the flavours of the dish.
Given below are approximate values that are found in one measure of Gongura Dal
- Calories 195
- Sodium 1,170 mg
- Total Fat 1 g
- Potassium 634 mg
- Saturated 0 g
- Total Carbs 37 g
- Dietary Fibre 7 g
- Protein 10 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Vitamin A 4%
- Calcium 22%
- Vitamin C 15%
- Iron 20%
Is important to remember that Sorrel Leaves have a very strong acidic tangy taste. The leaves you pluck must be tender and small. The leaves must be washed properly to take out germs, pesticides and any other form of contamination.
Enjoy your Gongura Dal on a cool winter day with steaming hot rice. On a hot summer day this dal goes well with chapatis.