The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

August 12, 2018

Garden to Table - Gongura Pickle


Gardening is bliss! When we're not busy coming up with new dishes, my mom and I are tending to our garden.  

We love planting and watching them grow. Since moving away from home, I've started my own garden. This year, I planted cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, gongura and various herbs. It's very relaxing and nurturing. 

One of the plants I've very excited to see flourish is the gongura plant. We use the leaves to make a fresh pickle which we mix into rice and enjoy. 


Feast your eyes on this "fresh from the garden" pickle. 

Dishes made with Gongura leaves are popular in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (southern states of India). There are two varieties of Gongura: red stemmed leaf and green stemmed leaf.


Mature Gongura leaves, ready for picking

My mom and I grew the green stemmed variety which is not as sour as the other kind. We haven't tried growing this plant before because of the hot climate that is required for its sustenance. I'm happy that the plant is doing well and is growing in our warm climate. We've collected enough leaves to make this popular pickle from India. 

Below is the recipe for this fresh South Indian pickle:

Ingredients
125g (or 1/4 lb) Gongura leaves, chopped (should measure 3 cups packed)
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1/8 cup urad (black gram lentil in English)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
3 to 4 dry red chilies
Lump of tamarind (size of lemon), soaked in little water
1 Tbsp sea salt (reduce measurement slightly if using regular variety)
1/4 cup sesame or vegetable, for frying and seasoning

For Taalimpu (seasoning):
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 dry red chili, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 pinches of Hing (also known as Asaphoetida)


Procedure

1) Add one teaspoon of oil to a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Next, add coriander seeds, black gram lentil, chilies and Fenugreek seeds. Fry until lentil is golden brown. Then, transfer the mixture into blender and grind it into powder and add half the amount of salt. 

2) Bring the saucepan back to the stove and on low-medium heat, add half teaspoon oil and then add the gongura leaves. Wilt the leaves until they turn dull green. Remove from stove and allow the leaves to cool down. 

3) Add the wilted gongura  leaves, soaked tamarind and remaining salt into the blender with the dry powder. Then, add 1/4 cup or less of water and some oil and grind the everything until the leaves are coarsely ground and blended with the dry powder. Transfer the pickle (or pachadi) into a mason jar with a lid. 

4) Heat the remaining oil for seasoning in the saucepan and add mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds and red chili. When the mustard seeds splutter, add 2 pinches of hing and then add this mixture to the pickle and mix well. 

5) The pickle is now ready to be serve. We like to eat this pickle or pachadi with warm plain white rice. You can also enjoy by spreading it on toast. 

Quick Tip: 
If you are using red stemmed gongura leaves, adjust the tamarind as it is more sour than the green stemmed variety. If you prefer more gongura taste, reduce the coriander and black gram lentil quantities. 


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