Gongura (Roselle) leaf rice (Gongura annam)
Indian cuisine has a number of flavored rice dishes including the famed Tamarind rice and the Gujarati Vanghi bhaat (both coming soon to this blog). These dishes can be enjoyed as a meal by themselves, accompanied by a raita or plain yogurt and a chutney or pickle.
This is a classic dish from the Telangana cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. Roselle leaves, or Gongura, is the Indian equivalent of western sorrel. It has an earthy tart flavor and is used abundantly in curries, stir-fries and with lentils (dals).
This dish is quite spectacular. The dish is the perfect combination of tart and spicy, as is traditional for this cuisine. The toasted sesame seeds add a touch of nuttiness to the flavor profile. I personally thought this dish was quite spectacular. I did make this dish as per the recipe instructions, you may tone down the amount of chili for a milder version and the roselle leaves for a less tangy dish. In addition, I enjoyed it with some yogurt to calm my palate.
This is another cookbook from Chandra Padmanabhan that I adore. The recipes are varied across the southern states in India and each recipe turns out very well. The recipes, like this one, are authentic and wonderfully flavored. This cookbook is for those who want to go beyond the ordinary and enjoy very localized cuisines from the South.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
For the gongura pachadi:
3 cups tightly packed gongura leaves
5-6 green chilies, chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, roasted and coarsely powdered
Tempering for the pachadi:
2 teaspoons ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
For the rice:
1 cup rice, basmati or brown, cooked
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Gongura pachadi from recipe
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Boil the gongura leaves, green chilies, and salt in 1/2 cup water till the leaves are just wilted but retain their dark green color, about 3-4 minutes. The water will seem less at first, but the leaves will wilt into very little very quickly. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. When cooled, add the tamarind paste and purée to a smooth liquid.
Temper the spices by heating the oil in a pot. Add the mustard seeds, they will pop in about 20 seconds. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute till the garlic is light golden. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for an additional minute.
Add the gongura purée and mix in. Cook for 5 minutes till the tamarind is cooked and no longer tastes raw. Add the sesame seeds and mix in. Take off the heat and set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions on medium heat till lightly golden. Add the rice and the cooked pachadi and mix in well. If the pachadi is too runny, cook till the liquids are evaporated, taking care not to break the rice up.
Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds either warm or at room temperature.