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Also known as
Ambada, Red Sorrel Leaves.
Gongura is a leafy plant , which has many culinary uses, the most popular is the pickled version. Gongura comes in two varieties, green stemmed leaf and red stemmed. The red stemmed variety is more sour than the green stemmed variety. Gongura is popular in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In Maharashtra markets, it is called Ambaadi. It is a summer crop and the hotter the place the more sour the leaf gets. Andhra Pradesh produces the best quality Gongura.
Cut the leaves in pieces. Blanching can be done by boiling or steaming. Put the leaves in a wire basket, submerge them completely in the boiling water, cover with a lid, and blanch for 3-4 minutes. To blanch by steaming, put the leaves in a steamer basket and suspend it above an inch or two of boiling water. Cover the pot, and begin timing(3-4 minutes) as soon as steam starts to escape from under the lid. With either method, shake the basket a couple of times to ensure that all vegetable surfaces are exposed to the heat. After the allotted time, remove the basket, and plunge the vegetables into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove them, drain thoroughly and add to your recipe.
Remove the leaves from the stalks and tear them roughly with your hands in small pieces. The torn leaves are usually used for blanching or for tempering.
Grind gongura leaves with garlic, green chillies and salt to make gongura paste, which can be added to vegetables or had as a chutney.
Chopped gongura leaves
Refers to the finely chopped or roughly chopped gongura leaves. They may be chopped fine or shredded as per the recipe requirements. Another interesting way of chopping them would be to chop into big chunks.
How to select
Look for gongura that have firm, unwilted leaves that are vividly deep green in color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be tenderer and have a milder flavor. They should be displayed in a chilled section in the refrigerator case to prevent them from wilting and becoming bitter.
· Gongura is a leafy vegetable and has very distinctive sour taste. This is one of main ingredients in authentic Andhra cuisine.
· When cooked with toor dal or as pickle, it wakes up, more like zings the taste buds and makes you crave its unique taste
· Other well known recipes made with Gongura as the main ingredient are Gongura Pappu (Lentils), Gongura mamsam (goat/mutton) and Gongura royyalu (shrimp).
· Apart from the curries there are many varieties of pickles made with gongura such as Pulla Gongura (Gongura + Red Chillies and Pulihara Gongura (Gongura and tamarind.
How to store
Store unwashed collard greens in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag. They should be placed in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep for three to five days, but the sooner they are eaten, the less bitter they will be.
· Gongura are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of vitamin B6, both of which are needed to keep levels of homocysteine, a potentially dangerous molecule, low.
· Gongura is a very rich source of Iron, vitamins C, folic acid and anti-oxidants essential for human nutrition
· They are rich in calcium, iron, zinc and Vitamin A
· In addition, they also are a very good source of riboflavin, another important B vitamin for cardiovascular health since it is necessary for the proper functioning of B6.
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