My gongura love has many avatars. One that frequently appears on Mahanandi is amma’s beloved gongura pappu. Today’s gongura avatar is from my mother-in-law’s kitchen, a Nandyala standard and Vijay’s all-time favorite. It’s a simple mélange of familiar toor dal and fresh gongura, does not use lot of ingredients, but relies on slow cooking for a rich and satisfying flavor. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape. Back in the old days, the dal is placed on the bottom, topped with gongura and simmered in earthen-ware pots on firebricks. Bottom is adugu in Telugu, so the name “adugula pappu“. This pride of Nandyala is an artisan food. I feel fortunate to prepare it at home with garden-fresh gongura and share it today on Mahanandi.
Gongura Adugula Pappu
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meal)
Fresh gongura leaves, coarsely chopped, about 6 cups, tightly packed
1/2 cup, toor dal (kandi pappu)
1 medium sized, red onion or shallot, chopped to chunks, about a cup
6 to 8 green chilli, Indian or Thai variety, about 3-inch length each, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
For Hing Tadka:
2 tablespoons, peanut oil
10 to 12, fresh curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon each – chana dal and urad dal
Pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon, hing (inguva)
1. Soak toor dal in two cups of water for one hour. Drain.
2. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green chilli. Saute until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the gongura leaves. Saute the leaves until they collapse.
3. Add the soaked toor dal to gongura. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Mix well with a whisk or sturdy spoon. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the toor dal is tender for about 15 to 20 minutes. Moisture from fresh gongura is enough to cook the toor dal to tender, and adding extra water is not necessary. But if there is a need, add little. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape.
4. Do the hing tadka. In a small pot, heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, one after another, and toast to fragrance. When mustard seeds start to pop, add hing. Stir for couple of seconds. Add the gongura-toor dal mix to this hing tadka. Gently mix well.
5. Serve gongura adugula pappu hot with rice and some ghee for a taste of tradition.
Gongura Adugula Pappu with Masuri Rice and Masala Vada ~ Meal on a Summer Day