Gongura Dal


These lemony tart leaves are my all time favorite greens. There has not been a single time I’ve been to an Indian store and not bought them if they were available. And considering that I go to the Indian store every other weekend and also keeping in mind the fact that these perennial greens are often found all through the year, you can imagine how frequently I make it. Gongura or Sorrel/Kenaf as they are called in English are widely used in Andhra cuisines to complement flavors in dals and chutneys and to tenderize meats in non-vegetarian preparations. I‘m a big fan of them in the dals but, I go head of heals in love with them when they are fried with shrimp. No kidding. Wait till I post my Shrimp Gongura recipe. You’ll begin to accept that I hardly exaggerate ;).


The Gongura dal is popularly made with Tuvar or Masoor Dal. But if  you ask me I’d say use any dal you like and trust me every combination of these leaves and the dals give you a different flavor. So try all combinations before you decide on which kind you’d like to stick. You might end up liking them all just like I did.


½ cup tuvar /toor dal 
3 cups finely chopped gongura leaves 
3 green chilies
½ cup chopped onions
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
3 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp oil/ghee
½ tsp powdered roasted fenugreek seeds
½ tsp mustard
1 dried red chili torn into two
a pinch of asafoetida 
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (the authentic version calls only for garlic but i like the ginger-garlic flavor better)
salt to taste


  • Pressure cook dal and gongura along with turmeric, chili powder and salt and keep aside.
  • Dry roast peanuts and powder coarsely and set aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan, add asafoetida, fenugreek powder, dried red chili and mustard.
  • When the mustard pops, add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add green chilies, ginger-garlic and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the powdered peanut and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add this to the cooked dal mixture, add water to desired consistency and bring to boil.
  • Serve hot with white rice.
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