Payala Kura Pappu (Purslane Dal)

Purslane (Payala Kura)
Payala Kura (Purslane) from my Garden

Last March, I planted some seeds expecting edible amaranth plants. But then came in abundance, pleasant looking plants with plump leaves and tiny yellow flowers. The leaves in size and shape resembled methi but they are much thicker. I couldn’t identify them for sure, so I called my amma(mom) and described the plant in detail. Amma said, “Indira, you have payala kura. It’s an old-time leafy vegetable, tasty and good for skin and eye health. Remember, payala kura pappu (dal), kura(curry) and chutney I make. You used to like it.”

Last time I had payala kura was at Nandyala, at my mom’s home, almost 15 years ago. So finding it here is definitely a delightful surprise. There is some very good information about this native to India plant, and could be found on Google search. Just type payala kura (Telugu) or Purslane (English). I also realized I had these greens growing all along in between the flower bushes. Here it was, a tiny plant, promising a wealth of health, but treated like a no-value weed. I wonder why sometimes we tend to overlook the best that is readily available and right in front of us.

Following my mom’s suggestion, I made traditional, Telugu vaari payala kura pappu today. Thanks to the sweet-sour taste of payala leaves, the dal came out wonderful, and it tasted better than spinach dal, almost as good as gongura dal.

Payala Pappu (Purslane Dal)
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

¾ cup, Toor dal
2 cups, tightly packed – Fresh Payala (purslane) leaves and tender stems
1 onion or shallot – coarsely chopped, about a half cup
6 to 8, green chilli, Indian or Thai variety, chopped,
1 tablespoon, tamarind
¼ teaspoon, turmeric

Take toor dal in a pressure-cooker. Rinse well. Add the payala leaves, onion, chilli, tamarind and turmeric. Add about 2 cups of water. Mix. Pressure cook the ingredients to soft. Once all the valve pressure is released, remove the lid. Add half teaspoon of salt. With a wood masher or whisk, gently mix and mash the dal to smooth. You have made the purslane dal. Now the only thing left is, the final touch, the hing (asafetida, inguva) tadka.

For hing tadka: Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a vessel. When oil is hot, add a sprig of fresh curry leave, a pinch each- cumin, mustard seeds and hing. Constantly mixing, toast the ingredients to fragrance. Add the dal to this hing tadka. Mix well.

Serve the purslane dal with rice or roti with some curry or papad on the side for a traditional Telugu meal.

Payala Kura Pappu with Kerala Matta Rice
Payala Pappu with Kerala Matta Rice ~ for Meal Today

Payala Kura in Encyclopedia of Indian Medicine


  • By Raghu, May 26, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

    Interesting recipe. What leaf is that – I am not familiar – does it have another name?

  • By The Housewife, May 26, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    That pappu looks like my mom’s pappu koora… I’ve never heard of this type of greens.. sounds very interesting!

  • By priya, May 26, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    This is also known as “Gangavalli kura” or “Gangavailu kura” or “Gangabailu kura” in telugu.

  • By priya, May 26, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    or “Gangabai koora”

  • By Mythili, May 26, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    Wow! We call it ‘Gangavayala kura’ and it is a rarity here in the US! Awesome!

    How are you guys doing? Our best to you, Vijay and Kittaya :)

  • By Seema, May 26, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    We call it ’sambhar cheera’

  • By N S, May 26, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    I love this pappu. Last year I bought this plant from Farmers market here, and replanted in a container. I prepared dal many times with it. Will check next week again at FM. We call it as ‘gangavayala kura’. Your pappu looks awesome.

  • By Manju Rajender, May 26, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

    Indira, I got this green from a Turkish shop here. They tasted awesomw with dhal. I think we call it as ‘paruppu keerai’.

  • By Music Fan, May 27, 2010 @ 7:09 am

    You should try to cook this with mango… that is payala kura, green mango and dal… it is supposed to go well with mango… let me know if you like it. I have been trying to find that dal here for ever so I could cook it with mango but was unsuccessful. you did chance upon a great leafy vegetable… enjoy

  • By shammi, May 27, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    I thought about growing purslane but didnt know how to use it, esply in Indian dishes. I love sour greens and I dont get gongura here, so purslane is going to make a very acceptable substitute! Thanks for the info! :)

  • By kavitha, May 27, 2010 @ 8:26 am

    we call it gangabayala kuura and my mother always makes the dal with this leafy veg and mango mixed. Even the pulusukuura with this tastes good. There are 2 varities in this veg. One is a leafy vegitable and one is a weed which just resembles this plant. For safety sake i always plant these leafy veggies in a container so that i don’t mix it up with a weed.

  • By Kay, May 27, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    How nice Indira… I remember my mom saying that it is a very healthy leafy vegetable. Tell me where you got the seeds, from India or can we get it here.

  • By Sruthi, May 27, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    Just as Priya said we call it’Gangabailu Kura’..its really yummy and very healthy.. My mom used to make a similar dal.. thanks indira garu for reminding me of this wonderful dish and also my hyderabad….

  • By aparna, May 27, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    I thought this plant was a weed never knew that it is edible and used in indian dishes.

  • By kalva, May 27, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

    wow new to me.. is this called table roses back home

  • By Nabeela, May 27, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    Its called Kulfay Ki Bhaji in Hyderabad :)
    I’ve been on the lookout for purslane at my farmer’s market. Can’t wait to make a slan with it!

  • By Nabeela, May 27, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    Here’s Mona’s version of Purslane direct from Hyderabad :)

  • By Nabeela, May 27, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  • By Latha, May 28, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

    We get it abundantly in Mexican stores here in California

  • By harini-jaya, May 29, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    We also call it Goli koora and as many of us know, pappu made with it tastes awesome with mango..

  • By gayatri, May 30, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    You can get this plant from Lowe’s also. I was there yesterday and I saw this plant.

  • By Indira, May 31, 2010 @ 7:17 am

    Good to know fellow fans of Payala kura. Thanks all for your comments.
    I too love the purslane+mango dal combination. Will make it sometime this week.

    Kay: Seeds are from a friend and she brought them from Andhra, India. My plants are in mature stage right now and I’ve planned to harvest the seeds. If you are interested to grow, I can send some seeds.

  • By Kay, June 3, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    That is really nice of you Indira. I am not sure if this will grow well in my patio garden, also I get direct sunlight only for part of the day. Let me find out. Thanks.

  • By Shweta, May 26, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    I have been an occasional silent reader. Interesting recipes & writing. In Maharashtra (at least in Vidarbh area) this is called ‘Ghol’. We also make it like Zunka (with besan). It used to be one of my favorite veggies. Sad, I haven’t found this in VA or GA in all these years. Now that I know its English name, might plant it. Thanks!

  • By Madhavi, July 5, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    Indira garu, Is Purslane the same as Ponnaganti kura?

  • By Devika, July 20, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    Thrilled to find purslane cooked Andhra style!! Many thanks.

  • By vanitha, June 13, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

    Hey Indira,

    Was wondering if you still grow purslane. If so, isit possible for you to share a few seeds.

  • By Rajani, August 8, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    Indira – thanks for the wonderful recipe and everyone-thank you for the various names. I do wish to caution though that purslane grows like a weed in the US. You can find it all over your backyard and in your driveway between the paved stones! But beware of using it (1) if you get your yard sprayed by chemicals for a green lawn (2) and caution to differentiate it from splurge that grows close to it (another weed). Splurge is poisonous. Easy to differentiate if you take the time: Purslane is thick, succulent (almost looks like the jade plant ) but as it grows larger the stem turns reddish in color whereas splurge grows as a thin, wiry weed and in a concentric circle. It is not succulent to look at but if you chop the stem, a white milky sap oozes out. Purslane does not have that sap nor is it hairy.

  • By Carolyn, July 17, 2017 @ 6:49 pm

    Its called Purslane in USA, known as a weed, but very nutritious. Its called Verdolagas by our Mexican friends, who love it and who I’m giving it to, as the season is almost over. I cleaned about a bushel today and am trying to figure a way to keep it for them for 3 days. It grows wild in the yard and garden, and splurge tries to hide among the leaves, so beware of the splurges thin, wiry, thin and milking sticky weed.

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