In my 2.5 years in Hyderabad, if there's one thing I had acquired a taste for, its Gongura (called pulicha keerai in Tamil, sorrel leaves in English). Its a predominant green in Andhra cuisine and frequently found its way a lot into the catered food at work.
Although I have seen fresh Gongura leaves many times in Little India, I pretended not to because I didn't want to admit I have never cooked with it. There, I said it!
But even a girl like me can't find more excuses with a brilliant book like Cooking with Pedatha on her bookshelf, so one day I slaved on for 2 hours and ended up with (way too little) of this amazing Gongura Pachadi. High-five Pedatha!
Adapted from Cooking with Pedatha
8 cups tightly packed gongura leaves / pulicha keerai / sorrel leaves (discard thick stems and retain the tender ones)
3/4 cup gingelly / sesame oil
Salt to taste
For 1st tempering:
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
8 dry red chillies
4 green chillies
A few curry leaves
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp hing powder / asafoetida powder / perungaayam
The 2nd tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 red chillies
1/4 tsp hing powder / asafoetida powder / perungaayam
8 flakes of garlic
How I Made It:
1. Heat 1/2 cup oil and add the gongura leaves. Cook well for about 30 mins until the leaves shrink to almost nothing and all the water has evaporated. The leaves will have a cooked/fried consistency.
2. In another pan, heat 2 tbsp oil for 1st tempering. Add mustard seeds and when they pop, add the fenugreek seeds. Remove from fire and let the fenugreek brown. Then add the red chillies and as they turn shiny, add the remaining ingredients for the 1st tempering.
3. Grind the above mixture into a course paste with salt without water. Then add the cooked gongura and grind some more, but not into a fine paste.
4. Heat remaining oil for 2nd tempering and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the fenugreek seeds and lower flame. When they turn brown, add the garlic and red chillies. As the chillies turn shiny, add the asafoetida. Garnish the ground pachadi with this tempering and mix well.
Serve with warm steamed rice and melted ghee. I prepared an all-Andhra-dishes lunch recently and this Gongura Pachadi was part of that. Other recipes following soon.
Oh and btw, let me know when you are back from heaven after eating this!
The book, Cooking with Pedatha has been reviewed to death when it came out and won Best Vegetarian Book of that year (2008, I think), but I am still tempted to do my own version. Maybe once I've tried a couple more recipes. Definitely a good book to add to your collection, which I can tell you at this point itself.
PS: its much cheaper to buy it through Flipkart in India, which is what I did.