Sunday, January 08, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #14 - Red Sorrel Leaves (Gongura Pachadi)

For this Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kalyn's Kitchen, I am blogging about a very interesting sour leaf called Red Sorrel.Hibiscus cannabinus aka red sorrel leaves,roselle,gongura (telugu)pulicha keerai (Tamil),Ambad bhaji,ambada,ambadi(Hindi) are popular sour greens here in the Southern State of Andhra Pradesh.Red Sorrel comes in two varieties, one is green leaf and the other being red variety which is more sour than the green/white stem variety.The leaves are bitter and mildly astringent and have a predominantly acidic taste.The Caribbeans prepare an exotic deep red sorrel punch, a sweet fruit drink with a wild tanginess from the flowers of the red sorrel plant ("sorrel" to Jamaicans) that form its base. These leaves and flowers have a cooling effect and act as an appetizer.

Red Sorrel has some health benefits too and is useful in relieving symptoms of fever. The leaves of this herb are useful in the prevention and treatment of scurvy which is a deficiency caused by lack of vitamin C. Fresh leaves of the plant are useful in stimulating the stomach and aiding its action. These leaves are beneficial in the treatment of jaundice and a tablespoon of fresh red sorrel juice mixed with butter-milk (made from cow's milk) is recommended once daily in the treatment of jaundice.

Gongura is available in abundance here and Gongura pachadi/pickle is a very popular authentic Andhra pickle variety on the lines of aavakai (raw mango pickle).These greens are used to prepare curries, stews, dals, and spicy pickles.In Andhra ,Gongura is used to prepare dishes such as Gongura Pappu (lentil),Gongura Vepudu(stir fry),Gongura royallu(prawns),gongura mamsam(mutton)and gongura pachadi,the recipe of which I am posting today.The recipe source is amma (my mother)who prepares excellent authentic andhra pickles.

4 big bunches fresh gongura leaves (red sorrel)
7-8 whole dry red chillis(de-seeded)
1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
7-8 green chillis(less spice ones)
1 tbsp minapppapu (black gram dal)
1 tbsp senaga pappu (bengal gram dal)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
12-15 cloves garlic (peeled and lightly crushed)
4 tbsps oil
salt to taste

3 tbsp oil (yes,its 3 tbsps as its a pickle)
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 whole dry red chillis
10 curry leaves

Seperate the gongura leaves from the stalks and leave them in an open cool and dry place for 2 days so that the leaves wither.After 2 days wash the leaves.Spread over kitchen towel.
Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed vessel.Add the leaves and fry them till rawness disappears and it becomes soft.Remove and cool.The fried leaves should look like shown in the picture.

In the same vessel add 1 tbsp oil and add methi seeds and fry till light brown and then add coriander seeds,urad dal(black gram),channa dal (bengal gram lentil) and dry red chillis and fry stirring constantly till light brown.Add the slit green chillis and fry for 2 minutes.Remove from fire and cool.
Grind these above ingredients with salt.Now add crushed garlic and the fried gongura leaves and grind very coarsely.It should not be soft.

Now heat 3 tbsps of oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.Now add the whole dry chillis and curry leaves and fry for 20 seconds.Remove from fire and add to the ground gongura pachadi along with the oil.This pachadi does require a wee bit more oil like most pickles.

This particular pickle can be stored in the refrigerator upto 3-4 weeks and goes well with hot steamed rice and a liberal dose of ghee and sliced raw onions.

Note:I have used the red stemmed variety of leaves which is more sour than the white stemmed.If you are using the leaves of the white stemmed variety,you can add approx 1-2 tbsp tamarind extract while grinding the ingredients.



shammi said...

I could KILL for authentic Andhra gongura dal and pickle :( Dunno where to get gongura here. waaaaaah! Store-bought gongura pickle is SOOOOOO salty it's awful. Oh well, at least I can drool over your photos/recipe, Sailu :)

sailu said...

Home made pickle,anyday,walks away with the honors,Shammi.I am glad the pics/recipe brings some respite..:)

Kalyn said...

This was just fascinating to me. Sorrel is one of those things that I've heard of, but I don't know that I have ever eaten it. Possibly in an Indian restaurant, but for sure I have not cooked with it. I appreciate learning so much from you.

Ashwini said...

Hi Sailu, thanks for stopping by. Your recent post took me to my few months in Bangalore. We went to an authentic Andhra restaurant there. Once I tasted their gongura pickle I pretty much didnt touch anything else!! Loooove the taste. If only I could taste it here! But thanks to you I can at least drool at the pic!!

MM said...

That is so interesting! I always wondered what sorrel was and now I know. I am going to try to go to Little India to get me some. The Gongura royallu and gongura mamsam sound very yummy. Er ... will you be posting those anytime soon? Sheepish laughter here.

And thanks so much for visiting my blog and a very Happy New Year to you too!

sailu said...

Kalyn,I have learnt so many new herbs because of WHB...thanks for hosting this event.It's a great experience learning about different herbs and foods the world over.

Oh yeah,Ashwini,any first-timers tasting gongura pachadi.... are hooked to it..:)

Yes,MM,I will posting both the recipes look out for them..:)

Tanuja said...

wow yummy andhra gongura, thanks a lot for ur receipes sailu. After work i come tired thinking of what to cook for dinner when i open my sytem and have a look at ur site than i have everything i want for dinner thank u so much keep posting some non-veg rcps.


sailu said...

I am glad you are able to find some recipes here to cook for dinner..:)
I sure will be posting more non-veg recipes,Tanuja.

Anonymous said...

I always learn something new here. Thanks!


Melissa CookingDiva said...

Good morning Sailu! Since this plant is from the hibiscus family, it sure has some of the same health benefits that the "hibiscus rosa-sinensis" has. I have written so far two articles about them:

sailu said...

We are all learning so much..thanks to all the informative bloggers in the blogosphere.

GM Melissa!Your articles made great read.Thanks for sharing.

Indira said...

Love, love gongura pachhadi, Sailaja.

Great recipe and photos are making me drool.

meeku telusugada, mana andhra vallaki gongura ante enta preeto. chaala bagunnadi mee pacchadi, Sailu.

Ruth said...

Sailu, the pickle sounds awesome. Now all I have to do is head over to the Indian community in Toronto and hope I can find the ingredients.

As always, thanks for sharing.

sailu said...

Chaala santhosham meeku pachadi recipe/photos nachhinanduku,Indira.

Your most welcome,Ruth.Hope you find the ingredients at you local Indian grocer.

Kay said...

Wow! Sailu, I love gongura! A friend of mine, from Andhra got some gongura pachadi made by her sister and it was great. I've been pestering her for the recipe and she has been dodging me. Now, I'm going to send this to her ;)
We dont get Gongura here. :( I'm saving this recipe for later use.