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)
Comments (40)

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40 comments for Gongura Pappu(Dal) »

  1. Indira – that is such a beautiful presentation and it looks delicious! Is the sabudana papad something you prepare yourself or purchase?

    Comment by Cathy — October 4, 2005 @ 11:55 pm

  2. indira i have to tell you i have been visiting your blog for a while. a couple of time i tried to post a comment but couldn’t but you should know my mouth often waters here, like now! ( a lot of the food reminds me of my childhood, though it was not too much a traditional one in terms of food!)

    Comment by akr — October 5, 2005 @ 6:06 am

  3. Indira, what a great post. Because of office and kids, I stopped celebrating our festivals. Reading your post made me feel nostalgic, oh.. how I miss festival celebrations of India.

    Comment by Suma — October 5, 2005 @ 9:56 am

  4. Hi Indira- Nice presentation of dal rice. The sago papad is delicious isn’t it? I am planning to write about the festival too. We make several varieties of sundal. Even though I try to keep up with Indian traditions, IT IS difficult to muster the enthusiasm that you feel in India towards cooking, dressing up in new clothes and the like- *sigh*.

    Comment by mika — October 5, 2005 @ 10:22 am

  5. Cathy…Thanks, this is how mothers feed toddlers back in India. they make small balls of rice, ghee and dal, give to the babies. Convenient and fun.
    I brought sabudana(sago) papads from India, my mother made these at home. I am sure, these are also available in Indian grocery shops, here in US. They complete the rice,ghee and dal food experience. Try them out.

    AKR… thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it.

    Suma… I am sorry to hear that. I know how tough it is to celebrate when everyone around you going on as nothing special. Festivals are really community events.

    Mika.. I am so happy to celebrate the festival this year with you.If only there is a way to share our festival food too, then it would be perfect. Isn’t it?

    Comment by Indira — October 5, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

  6. Hi Indira- Glad that you came to my small Golu. I was never one to give much importance to festivals when I was in India. Now that I am here, I miss them very much and try to enjoy them as much as I can.

    BTW, homemade sago papads are tastier than store-bought ones. The ones I buy are very hard.

    Comment by mika — October 5, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

  7. Festivals and food are important transmitters of culture–they remind us of who we are, and where we come from. When we carry our festivals with us, and prepare our food, no matter where we are–we are always home. Home within our skins and hearts and heads, and wherever we are, there the Gods go, too.

    Jai Durga Ma!

    Comment by Barbara — October 5, 2005 @ 6:17 pm

  8. Hibiscus cannabinus: gongura (Te.); patsan (H.); nali (Skt.); mestapat (B.); ambari (M.); pulichai (Ta.);

    another variety mostly commomly found in US is(Hibiscus sabdariffa) roselle, Florida cranberry, Indian sorrel, Jamaican sorrel

    Comment by shakthi — October 5, 2005 @ 9:37 pm

  9. Well said, Barbara.
    Thanks and Jai Durga Ma!

    Shakthi… Thanks for helping me out.

    Comment by Indira — October 5, 2005 @ 10:37 pm

  10. Indira, I visit your site everyday but this is my 1st comment….I did yesterday the gongura pappu, came out tasty!!! Just wanted to let you know that your site is great and with the pictures on it….looks so delicious!!!

    Comment by Jaya — October 6, 2005 @ 10:25 am

  11. Jaya..Thanks for the visits and for trying out the recipe. I am glad you liked it. Gongura tastes great prepared in this way.
    Thanks again and hope to see more visits and feedback from you:)

    Comment by Indira — October 6, 2005 @ 7:20 pm

  12. Hi Indira,

    That’s a great recipe for gongura. I am a Maharashtrian – we use a lot of gongura too, we call it ambadi. Did you know that it is an important part of the Sindhi sai-bhaji too?

    Comment by Manisha Joshi — October 6, 2005 @ 11:38 pm

  13. Manisha Joshi… Thanks. I didn’t know that, really? I tasted Sindhi sai-bhaji once at a friends house but it was made with spinach. Can it be made with gongura also? I would love to try your recipe, thanks.

    Comment by Indira — October 7, 2005 @ 3:35 pm

  14. Indira, gongura dal is one of my favourite Andhra recipes. Do you know what gongura is called in English? Could it be sorrel?

    Comment by shammi — October 9, 2005 @ 3:19 pm

  15. Indira,
    Looks delicious! It’s so great to see someone out there talking about Telegu home cooking.
    I love gongura pachadi but I’ve never had gongura pappu – I hope to give it a try sometime (if I ever find gongura out here, which is unlikely). Priya

    Comment by Priya Pillutla — October 13, 2005 @ 6:56 pm

  16. hey it’s a nice pic…and mouth watering and i do find the recipe is good..instead of cooker u might have opted something like a normal bowl kina thing it will be cooker though it is easy to cook, cookin in a bowl it makes more delicious without any loosing of vital quantities like minerals from the raw materials

    Comment by Arun Rahul Pillutla — February 28, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

  17. Hi Indira,
    First of all your blog is just superb.I often check your blog and always found very yummy recipes in an informative way;thanks for sharing with us.
    One thing i need to asked to you infact i need your help;that i’ve the ambari”gongura”and it’s dried not the fresh one;can u tell me how to cook it,like i heard that it can be cooked with channa dal to make bhaji but i don’t know really how to or a chutney can be made.Hope u’ll reply me and thanks for giving me your time.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Samreen, thanks for your nice words about my blog.
    I really don’t know any recipes with dried gongura. Sorry, can’t help you there.

    Comment by Samreen — March 22, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  18. Hi Indira,
    I post comments and also asked to you some questions regarding to the “ambari” but it seems u didn’t get it as it shows having error or my posting is spam i don’t know what happened.Plz,check it and hope u’ll reply to me.

    Comment by Samreen — March 22, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

  19. Hi Indira,
    I’m still waiting for your reply regarding the ambari recipe to how to cook it…..anyhow the english name of ambari(gongura)is “Sorrel leaves”.Thanks.


    Comment by Samreen — March 24, 2006 @ 11:36 pm

  20. Indira can u tell me if the leaves in the link below is gongura leaves , it looks similar to the pic that u have of the leaves.

    Comment by Priya — March 29, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

  21. Hi Priya, I checked the link you posted, they do indeed look like our ‘gongura’ leaves. I think they are the same.
    So how is the movie V for Vendetta? I saw the movie poster on the sidebar links of your blog.

    Comment by Indira — March 29, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

  22. I saw the above comments on sorrel leaves, but the pic of sorrle doesnt look like gongura at all. Anyways I loved the movie V for vendetta, enjoyed a real good action thriller after a long time ( and politics , i better not comment on that part ) .. and natalie portman gives her best performance for the movie. Love it , have u watched the movie? i dont know i watch a lot of movies these days and iam eagerly awaiting for Da Vinci code.

    Indira replies:
    There are atleast two different varieties of ‘gongura’ I know. The one in the link looked like short leaf, red stem type that I know from Andhra. Gongura avialable in Indian stores, here in US is more like long leaves and less sour also.
    I read good things about the movie. I’m waiting for the DVD.:)

    Comment by Priya — March 29, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  23. Indira,

    Request for recipes.

    I really like andhra pappu and have tried your methi pappu recipe which come out very well. I am planning to try the gongura pappu today. I’ll still have some gongura leaves left. Could you give me ideas for anything else I could make with it? Like chutney for examples. I understand that andhra chutneys are really tasty.


    Indira replies:
    I am glad that you liked the methi pappu recipe, Jayashree. Thanks for letting me know.
    We prepare a chutney with gongura leaves, recipe is – saute onion, green chillies and gongura leaves in one teaspoon of oil. When they are cool enough to touch, add salt and prepare chutney in a blender. Prepare it little bit of hot to match the sourness of gongura leaves. Tastes real good with rice and dal.

    Comment by jayashree — May 7, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

  24. Nice, thanks.. will try it.

    Indira replies:
    You are welcome, let me know how you like the chutney?

    Comment by jayashree — May 8, 2006 @ 6:53 pm

  25. Hi Indira,

    Tried this yesterday. This was the first time I made something with gongura. When I saw some fresh gongura in my grocery store I just picked it with the vague memory of seeing some gongura recipe in your blog. Me and hubby liked the taste very much. I usually make daal similarly with spinach but adding gongura gave a very different taste which we both liked. Thanks for sharing an authentic Andhra recipe 🙂

    Indira replies:
    Hi KG, I am glad you both liked this recipe. This is one of my all-time favorite recipe.
    Gongura has its own unique taste and combining it with toordal makes it irresistable.

    Comment by Kerala Girl — June 6, 2006 @ 9:38 am

  26. […] In terms of typical Andhra food Gongura, also known as Andhra Maatha (Mother of Andhra Food), is a delicacy and no religious festival is complete without it. Pulihara or tamarind rice is the main food here in Andhra Pradesh, and green chilies add spice to the cuisine. Andhra pickle, sharp and extremely hot—is a favorite all over the country. […]

    Pingback by Amazing Andhra Food at Quick Indian Cooking — October 30, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  27. we moved in to the states in feb and would like to know if you get gongura in any of the indian stores in NJ. THANKS.

    Indira replies:
    Try Indian grocery shops on Oak Tree road, Edison, NJ.
    We used to do our grocery shopping at a shop called Subji Mandi.
    Hope this helps. If you find these leaves, please let me know what you did with them. Thanks Hannah.

    Comment by hannah — April 15, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  28. I found LOTS of fresh gongura at the farmers market today and made this for lunch. It was lovely – thanks so much for sharing something so different and special.

    Comment by Diane — June 29, 2007 @ 1:29 pm

  29. Nice recipe. We call it “Ambadi” in Marathi. My mom puts crushed garlic in the tadka. And without onions. We also sometimes add a small amount of rice to the dal while cooking. We eat this veggie with jowar roti.

    I will try your variation too

    Comment by Varsha — July 10, 2007 @ 5:51 am

  30. […] I followed Indira’s recipe, and the tangy taste-treat that resulted was nothing short of superb. I was so happy to end this long weekend of indulgence with this simple, honest, and oh-so-long-awaited dal. Thanks, Indira! […]

    Pingback by At Last ~ Garden and Gongura! « Out Of The Garden — September 3, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  31. […] Gongura Pappu […]

    Pingback by Gongura Mamsam-An Andhra Speciality | — December 27, 2007 @ 4:30 am

  32. Dear Indira,
    The recpie pappu gongora is tasty. I prepaired it & my hubby loved it. Pls pin up more recpies. Good day.Bye

    Comment by Mary — February 5, 2008 @ 3:37 am

  33. Hello Indiragaru,
    I like ur blog very much. It has lovely and delicious recipes. I tried ur gongura pappu twice, it turned fantastic. I added the coriander,cumin, garlic paste also. Ippudu mee masala idli try chestunnanu. Idli batter undi so its turn for ur recipe. great going!!. I will try ur recipes and give u the feedback.

    Hello Siri,
    I read you comment on masala idly. Glad to read that you tried and liked these recipes. Thanks for taking time to let me know and also for your good words.

    Comment by Siri — February 22, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  34. Ilike ur blog very much. It has lovely and delicious recipes.great going.

    Comment by aparna raj — May 20, 2008 @ 4:22 am

  35. My American friend is growing a few acres of gongura (plus many more acres of bananas and lychees) near West Palm Beach, FL but has only one buyer for the gongura. Do you know of any interested South Florida customers? Let me know at my email and I will pass it on.

    Comment by Leslie Divol — August 3, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  36. Liked the cooking of gongura papu.Its real tasty.

    Comment by Ravi varma — September 12, 2009 @ 12:35 am

  37. I have just seen your receipe..The cooking procedure seemed be the same as that of the one for any other leafy vegetable..actually i tried this at home today morning in my own procedure wherein in boiled only the dal 1st n afterwards added the leafy vegetable..but something wen odd..n the dish was a failure..Final taste was sour…may somewherein adding salt n karam i made a mistake.

    Comment by Neeraja — May 31, 2010 @ 1:50 am

  38. Thanks for this recipe. I’m a Mexican American and my husband is from Andhra. Not long ago my Atthya came to visit us here in the US. Together we started growing a vegetable garden. In my garden I have Gongura, spinach, and lady finger. Since my Atthya has left the states i havent done much with the gongura but water it. I remember us eating Pappu and gongura but never got the recipe from her. Now realizing it, its the easiest thing i can ever make:). Thanks for your help! Que Viva INDIA and Andrah!!! cant wait to visit!

    Comment by Virginia — December 1, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  39. Tried this today and it tasted well.Thanks.

    Comment by Deepti — May 8, 2011 @ 4:02 am

  40. Very tasty. i tried it myself. Gongura is called Indian Sorrel

    Comment by Dr Lalit — September 23, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

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