Gongura Pachadi/Chutney

Gongura Pachadi Gongura pacchadi is quintessentially Telugu cuisine. Gongura Pachadi is made from Red Sorrel leaves. While it has many culinary uses, the most popular is the pickled version. Although Gongura is widely consumed all over Andhra Pradesh, Gongura is more popular in hotels, restaurants, eateries and food joints. It is also grown in Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh (north east region of India) and also some parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts region in Bangladesh (which is mainly a tribal people region). It is a very popular green vegetable in Chakma community and it is known as "Aamelli". Gongura is a very rich source of iron, vitamins, folic acid and anti-oxidants essential for human nutrition. 

Similarly, Gongura is popular in Tamil Nadu as well, and is called pulichakeerai in Tamil. It is popular in North and Central Karnataka cuisines as "Pundi Palle", and is regularly eaten with Jollad (Jowar) rotti. The famous combination with pulichakeerai is Ragi Kali/Ragi Mudde, which once used to be a regular food for the people in villages (since these items are easily available in agricultural forms). In Marathi, it is called Ambaadi and is specially prepared to a stew and served to goddess Mahalakshmi / Gauri during the annual festival of Mahalakshmi, which falls on three days in between the ten days Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Maharashtra. It is known as Pitwaa in Hindi, Taka bhendi or Khata Palanga in Oriya, Kotrum in Jharkhand Mestapat in Bengali, Amaari in Chhattisgarhi, Pandi/Pundi in Kannada, Anthur in Mizo, Sougri in Manipuri, Sankokda in Punjabi, Aamelli in Chakma, Kenaf Leaves in English, and Chin Baungin Chinese. It is a summer crop, and the hotter the place, the more sour the leaf gets.

Gongura comes in two varieties, green stemmed leaf and red stemmed. The red stemmed variety is more sour than the green stemmed variety. Gongura leaves have a tangy, slightly sour taste, that gets tarter as the leaves get older and bigger. Due to the tartness, the leaves are usually left open so that they loose out its crispiness and start to wither  and thereby a slight decrease in its tartness. Another alternate method would be to soak the Gongura leaves in hot water for about 5 minutes. This will reduce its tartness. If preparing Gongura Pickle, the leaves have to get dried up on a napkin and thereby continue with the recipe. But for preparing Gongura Pacchadi / Chutney, leaves after getting soaked in hot water can be strained and included in the recipe. I have followed the later, by soaking the Gongura leaves in hot water and then used in the recipe. 

The tartness in the Gongura leaves is substituted by adding the right spices in exact amount. Curry leaves gives the flavor and onion shallots gives the sweetness to the dish. Fenugreek, red chillies, and salt gives the Gongura Pachadi, its required dossage. Of course, turmeric garlic and mustard seeds adds in extra taste to this lip smacking Gongura Pachadi.


2 bunches gongura (sorrel leaves)
8 to 20 red chillies (coarsely powder them)
1 whole garlic (removing the outer cover of the pods)
1 cup onion shallots (removing the outer cover)
Few curry leaves
A pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander powder / dhania
1/4 tsp. cumin / jeera powder
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. of fenugreek seeds ( powdered form is better though whole can be added)
Salt as needed
Oil - 2 tbsp.

Cooking method:

1. Remove the leaves from the Gongura stalks and collect it. Clean them with plenty of water. 

2. Heat 2 cups of water and get it to the boiling point adding Gongura leaves. And strain them immediately so that the tartness in the leaves will reduce making the leaves soft.

3. In a pot add these Gongura leaves, garlic pods and coarsely powdered red chilies with 2 cups of water adding salt. Cook them until the water is evaporated, and garlic and Gongura leaves are cooked to tender. Let it cool.

4. Make a coarse paste of the cooked leaves adding turmeric, coriander powder and cumin powder (better to use a stone mortar to blend this, which was traditionally used to do this job).

5. Heat oil in a pan adding mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds crackles add fenugreek followed by curry leaves and onion shallots.

6. Cook onions for around 3 minutes and add the coarsely blended gongura to it. Sauté this well until oil leaves the sides in a low flame.

6. Enjoy this Gongura pacchadi with warm steamed rice with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).

Note: Red chilies can be substituted for fresh green chilies.

Gongura Chutney