The bell rang, I opened the door. A small girl was holding a bouquet. The bouquet was hiding her face. She gave it to me.
What she was holding a bunch of gongura leaves, not a bouquet.
I smiled, and I thanked her. It was my neighbour’s daughter. My neighbour had sent across this bunch they had picked up from a shop.
I was making this pachadi for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you this - the leaves are tangy. Really really tangy. And I loved it! The pachadi tasted better the next day and it was the star of the meal.
I have been hunting for these leaves ever since and have never seen it around. It’s available all year through (as is the case with almost all vegetables now), but its best in summer.
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Recipe source: Cooking 4 All Seasons
- Gongura leaves : a bunch, washed and cleaned
- Green Chillies : 6-8 (or more depending on the sourness of leaves)
- Red chillies : 3-4
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Urad dal : 1 tsp
- Onion : 1 small chopped
- Hing : a pinch
- Garlic cloves : 2-3
- Oil : 2 – 3 tbsp
- Wash and clean the leaves. Pluck the leaves and discard the stems. Let the leaves drain in a colander.
- In a kadai, heat about one tbsp of oil and saute the leaves and the green chilies till they change color completely and are soft. Keep aside. You can also cook this by adding half a cup of water and letting it boil.
- Once its cool, grind this to a coarse paste with salt. Do a taste test and add more salt if needed. If the leaves are really tangy, then you need to increase the spice level.
- In a kadai, add another tbsp oil and once its hot, add the hing, mustard seeds, urad dal. Once it crackles, add the chopped onion, garlic and red chilies. Saute till brown, Add the ground gongura leaves to this and saute for 5 minutes.
- You can serve this as a pickle or mix with rice like a podi. Tastes good both ways.