Gongura in Andhra or Ambatchuka, Ambadi in Maharashtra, Pulichakeerai in Tamilnadu or Surrel leaves in English, are sour leaves. The hotter the region the sour the leaves. The best leaves are available in Andhra Pradesh.
The leaves are a rich source of Iron, Folic acid, Vitamins and antioxidants essential for our nutrition. It is highly recommended for patients with heart and sugar problems. Gongura comes in two varieties, green stemmed leaf and red stemmed. The red stemmed variety is more sour than the green stemmed variety.
I used to make this Pachadi in various variations during our stay in South India. After moving here I have tried searching for it but people were not aware. During my recent visit to Bangalore my eyes were searching for them and I found them with a small vendor. I got hold of the red variety and very greedily I bought 4 bunches of it (it reduces considerably in volume on cooking) and used it the very next day after arriving back so that they do not get spoilt. The leaves were not very sour to my expectation so I added an extra dash of tamarind paste. One can adjust the same as per their taste.
This Pachadi is very common in Andhra homes, especially in rural Andhra. It is a blend of hot and sour flavors and tastes best with hot rice along with raw oil / ghee. I like it with hot paratha.Ingredients
3 cups gongura /Surrel leaves
3 garlic pods
2 tsp tamarind paste
15 bedagi red chilies
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 tsp coriander seeds
1 string of curry leaves
2 tsp each bengal gram and split black gram ( chana, urad dal)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
gingelly oil 7-8 tbsp
1 tsp asafetida
Salt to taste
Heat a spoon of oil and put both the dals followed by fenugreek seeds, let them turn to a golden colour. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds and roast it for a minute. Add the red chilies and roast for 2-3 minutes. Let the entire thing cool down.
Heat another spoon of oil and add garlic pods and let them turn light golden in color. Now add the leaves and salt and cook for a minute. Cool and add curry leaves, the dal mix and tamarind paste and grind. If required add a little water.
Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. After they splutter add heeng( asafetida). Pour it over the pachadi and mix.
Serve with hot rice.
Tip- The Pachadi needs extra oil else it tastes dry with the rice. If required, raw filtered oil (gingelly, peanut) can be served on the rice. My family likes it that way.