Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Gongura Pappu(Dal)

I’ve been quite busy for the past couple of days, cleaning up the house, rearranging things. All these are part of the preparation for the most important festival, ‘Vijaya Dasami’. The ten-day festival, also called ‘Dassera’ or ‘Nava Ratri’, celebrates the Goddess Durga, the Mother Force of Hindu Scriptures. The festival starts from today, 4th Oct and ends on 12th with grand prayers, processions and feasts.

It is very easy to let go of these traditions and say “whatever or next year”. Because we live in an isolated environment, far from our traditions and festivals, particularly from the festive mood and the atmosphere. I understand the values and importance of these festivals so I try to be enthusiastic to follow the rituals and celebrate as much as possible.

What I am going to do on my food blog during these ten days of festival is to try to write about all the food items that I am going to prepare on the grand festival day, Vijaya Dasami. I usually prepare: a dal, two types of curries, rasam, chutney, papads, bajji, chitrannam with lemons, rice and bhakshalu(poli). I am planning to write about one item each day for the next ten days.

I am going to start my festival food with dal, not any dal but the Andhra special –Gongura dal.

Gongura Leaf

For the uninitiated in Andhra cuisine, Gongura is a leafy vegetable and has very distinctive sour taste. For the past couple of years we are able to purchase it in Indian stores, here in US too. I am sorry but I don’t know its English name, it’s usually sold here also as ‘Gongura’, under its Telugu name. When cooked with toor dal or as pickle, it wakes up, more like zings the taste buds and makes you crave its unique taste.


1 bunch of Gongura, leaves separated & washed
1 cup or four fistfuls of toor dal
Green chillies at least 6, jalapeno variety
1 medium sized onion, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp of turmeric

What makes this recipe unique(my family variation) and so tasty is adding one garlic clove, half tsp of coriander seeds and cumin, all together made into smooth paste and then added to the dal. This paste compliments and gives wonderful aroma and taste when cooked with gongura.

In a pressure cooker, take all of the above ingredients and add one glass of water. Mix them once and pressure cook until three to four whistles or until toordal is tender and breaks apart when held. Wait until the pressure is released, remove the lid and add one teaspoon of salt to this cooked mixture and mash it with a wooden pappu gutti or using an immersion blender into smooth paste.

Now, in a sauce pan, over low medium heat, do the popu or tadka (means toasting the mustard, cumin seeds, red chilli pieces and curry leaves in one tablespoon of ghee or oil). Add the cooked and mashed gongura dal to this popu. Stir all of it once and cover with a lid. Gongura dal is ready.

Tastes great with rice or jowar roti. Best way ofcourse is the combination of this dal mixed with rice, ghee and papad.

Gongura Dal and Rice on a Sago Papad
Gongura and rice mudda(ball) on sabudana(sago) papad.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Gongura(Sour Greens),Toor Dal (Tuesday October 4, 2005 at 9:46 pm- permalink)
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