Gongura Pachadi or Gongura Chutney is a popular Andhra dish. Gongura Akku as in Telugu is the sour leaves known as Red Sorrel leaves, Hibiscus Cannabinus, roselle, Pulicha keerai (Tamil), Ambad bhaji, ambada, ambadi (Hindi). Gongura is a very rich source of Iron, vitamins, and anti-oxidants essential for human nutrition. These are popular sour greens available in the Southern State of Andhra Pradesh, India. Red Sorrel comes in two varieties, one is green leaf and the other being red variety which is sourer than the green/white stem variety.
While it has many culinary uses, the most popular is the pickled version. A few other well-known dishes that make use of Gongura are Gongura Pappu (Lentils), Gongura Pickle, Gongura mamsam (goat/mutton), and Gongura royyalu (shrimp). Apart from its source of Iron, the leaves are also known to be useful in the prevention and treatment of scurvy which is a deficiency caused by lack of vitamin C.
Today's chutney is my amma recipe, which is a class of its own. I have another chutney that uses peanuts and equally good. But this one stays for long. The memories of this pachadi or chutney kindle childhood memories. My dad is very fond of this chutney and Amma makes sure she prepares for him frequently. Though I love this chutney, I never really learned how to make this. Athamma makes it with Peanut and though it tastes great too, it's not the same as this. And she is also fond of this variety that Amma makes. So when we got hold of a bunch, we decided that we are going to learn how to make this.
Though we don't have a garden to grow our vegetables, we proudly spotted this in our backyard. The picture of the plant was taken at my sister-in-law's place. There is nothing like plucking fresh ones for your cooking!
Gogura Akku - 1 bundle (size can be measured by holding one bundle tightly)
Green Chillies - 11 - 12 long ones
Salt to taste
Mustard Seeds + Urad Dal (black gram dal) - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red chilis - 4-5 nos
Sambar Onions (Shallot) - 150 gms
Onion - 1 medium (100 gms)
Oil - 250 ml (app)
Method to prepare:
Wash and pick the leaves to remove any affected leaves. Amma is very particular about washing greens. She washes it some 3 times and then lets it soak in saltwater. Let it drain in a sieve.
Take the leaves along with 11 chilies in a vessel. Add about half a cup of water and let it boil. Since the leaves let out water, you will have enough water for it to get cooked. We used about 11 chilies. It's mostly based on the sourness of the leaves.
Once it's cooked, let it cool. Then grind the leaves along with the chilies. You can remove 2 of the chilies, grind the rest. Check the spicy and then add if required. Add salt. We found we needed about 11 of them. Once this is ground to a smooth paste, you can season it.
Heat a pan with oil Add the mustard and urad dal. Once it splutters, add the sambar onions, regular onions. Shallots are not chopped finely, they are just cut into halves. Sauté these to brown, along with the red chilies. Then add the ground gongura paste. Simmer and let it cook, till the oil comes out on the sides. You need to add oil, based on the texture of the chutney. Add some more if you find it not sufficient. Keep stirring and make sure the bottom is not burnt.
It takes about 15 to 20 mins for the ground paste to be fully cooked and the oil coming out. This pachadi tends to be a little on the oily side as it can stay good for over a week when stored in the refrigerator. We can safely store this at room temperature for 3 days. This tends more on the pickle than a pacchadi. though stays for a shorter period.
Enjoy this with hot steamed rice and Ghee! And it tastes great with Curd rice too!
Another pachadi that we make is with Ground Nuts or Peanuts, though this doesn't stay for long.