The Telugu speaking people of India are spread over a vast geographical area. You will find them in Telangana and Andhra. Some of them reside in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well. Telugu cuisine is Tangy and spicy just like their quintessential dish Gongura Pachadi.
Gongura Pachadi is made from the Red Sorrel leaves called Gongura. Gongura leaves go by different names in different languages. It is called Pulicha Keera in Tamil, Mestapat in Bengali, Punde palle in Kannada, Tenga Mora in Assamese, Ambaadi in Marathi, Khatta Palanga in Oriya and Pitwa in Hindi. There are two types of Gongura – one with a Red stem and another with a Green stem. The red stem is most sour among the two. The sourness factor in Gongura leaves increase according to the temperature of the place it grows.
How to select leaves for Gongura Pachadi
Select only firm Gongura leaves which have deep green color. Yellow leaves is sign of decay. The smaller sized leaves are tender and have a mild flavor. Proper storage will give the leaves extra life.
How is Gongura Pachadi Made?
Gongura can be cooked like a vegetable. Some people make it with lentils called Gongura Pappu. Some pickle it. Some add them to their meat dishes such as Dry Gongura Chicken fry, Gongura Royyalu (shrimp) Gongura Mamsam and the like. But, it is Gongura Pachadi that most people relish.
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The method of preparation varies from family to family. Recipes are handed by Grandmas to Granddaughters; mother-in-laws to daughter-in-law. Some people blanch the leaves cool and add spices to prepare the pachadi.Others just shred and fry the leaves and add condiments. Check out some methods below
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- The Gongura leaves have to be cleaned and dried in a cloth for 10 hrs. Next, Fry the leaves in oil and cool. Next, fry red chilies and cumin and blend these with the garlic and salt to a smooth paste. Finally, add Gongura leaves and grind to a coarse paste. Your yummy tangy Gongura Pachadi is ready.
- Another method is to boil together Gongura leaves, onion and green chilies till cooked. Note that the whole water should be absorbed. Cool the boiled Gongura and grind it with salt. You can temper this with Vadiyalu(dried lentil mix) or Majiga mirpakaya(Chilled soaked in buttermilk and dried). Add onions, few crushed garlic pods, curry leaves, cumin and a red chilly while tempering. The Pachadi is done. Serve it with hot rice and dollops of Ghee.
- This is a recipe from another family. First, pound powder salt and onions and to a coarse paste. Next, dry roast cumin and Fenugreek powder it fine. In a pan take 3 Tablespoons of oil and jeera and red chillies and keep frying. Add curry leaves and few garlic pods. After two minutes add washed and cleaned Gongura Once the leaves are fried, the pounded onion paste and dry roasted cumin/fenugreek powder should be added. The resultant pulp has to be stir-fried until all the ingredients mix and water is absorbed. The Pachadi is ready to serve now.
The Telugus like their food hot and spicy. And why not, Andhra is famous for its Guntur chillies. The Gongura Pachadi has both green chillies and red chillies to augment the spice factor. Gongura is usually mixed and eaten with rice. To make it palatable, Ghee is added to the rice. Ghee not only mitigates spice, it cools the body and gives a nice taste to the dish.
Though this leafy vegetable wonder is eaten all around the country and abroad, it is most popular in the Telugu Heartland; so much so that they call it Andhra Matha, meaning mother of the Andhra. So, it is! Gongura Pachadi is a regular at dinner tables, especially at family get-togethers.
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It also has many health benefits to make it the “Amma of Leafy vegetables”! Gongura is known to alleviate cough, cold and fever. It contains Vitamin C and hence improves appetite and immunity at the same time. Gongura is also a source of Folic Acid, antioxidants and Iron. It is also a source of Riboflavin so vital for a healthy heart. Your dosage of calcium phosphorous and magnesium can also be obtained on consuming Gongura, on a daily basis.
Most Leafy vegetables are generally not cooked during monsoons due to fear of contamination. But since Gongura leaves grow on higher branches, they can be cooked and consumed all through the year without fear of contamination.
Gongura Pachadi is available all around the year in Andhra and Telangana – at hotels, way-side eateries, restaurants, and food joints. You can also make it at home preparation method is not difficult. Try this tasty dish once and you will be hooked for life like the Telugu people.
Featured Photo by dinesh_valke