It’s always a pleasure to step out into my garden and pick my greens fresh from the plant. Last time I was in Chicago, in addition to the Cabbage Uttapam recipe, I came away with saplings for Gongura or Red Sorrel Leaves. One of my favorite green leafy vegetables that is scarce to find here. My friend Anu had sowed the seeds in two raised beds. All had sprouted and looked fresh and healthy. She was gracious enough to share a few saplings of amaranth and red sorrel leaves. I am equally amazed that they survived my 4-week absence!
Stepping outdoors I saw these fresh greens and my mind was on Gongura Pappu or Red Sorrel Leaves Dal. My mother always made it with a lot of garlic and it was always tasty and refreshing! Dal in South India is always made with Toor Dal and tamarind. If the vegetable is tart, there is no need to add tamarind such as with mango and sorrel leaves. Also sometimes adding tomato will suffice such as with spinach and methi.
Here’s how I make mine…
1 cup Toor dal
1/2 bunch red sorrel leaves or as needed/available
1 whole garlic peeled and sliced (if cloves are big or use whole)
2-3 dry red chilli leaves
1 green jalapeno
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
salt to taste
I always pre-cook my dal in a pressure cooker with 2 cups water.
In a large bowl, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds and peeled garlic cloves. Once the garlic is lightly brown, add curry leaf, chopped ginger, sliced jalapeno and chopped sorrel leaves and fry for 5 minutes. Add the cooked dal and cook on low flame adding water as necessary for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and red chilli powder and mix well.
Top with chopped cilantro and serve hot with sona masuri rice and ghee!