Gongura Pulihora recipe is quick and simple. It is a sour and spicy rice dish from Andhra Pradesh, that uses one of the popular local greens- Gongura, which is called Roselle in English. Taste wise, it is similar to Puliyodharai or tamarind rice.
Gongura or roselle leaves are native Indian green leafy vegetables, with a sour taste to them. There are two varieties – one with red stems and other with green. The red stemmed ones have a more pronounced sourness than the green stemmed roselle.
I wrote about growing gongura at home from existing gongura stems. The new leaves are a single whole leaf, while the mature leaf has 3-4 lobes. Gongura pappu or roselle leaves with dal is a wildly popular Andhra recipe, which goes best with plain rice. It is a simple dish in which the dal is cooked along with the chopped leaves. Tempering of ginger, garlic, green chillies and onions fried in ghee adds a lot of flavour to the dal.
This time, I decided to make a Gongura Pulihora. Puliyodharai or puliyogara or pulihora (various South Indian names for the same dish) is one of my all time favourites. I can eat a whole pan of this, all by myself. Add to it some fried vadams and life is bliss. Hello, carb coma!
I wrote about my love for the Tamil style Puliyodharai in this post here.
Making Gongura Pulihora
Coming to the gongura pulihora recipe, it is is a spicy South Indian rice dish. This is similar to the tamarind rice or puliyodharai. In this dish, roselle leaves provide tanginess to the rice instead of tamarind. I tasted it for the first time, when my friend Mamatha made it for our school event. This was for language day, where she had volunteered to cook a couple of dishes for the Andhra Pradesh food counter. The gongura pulihora along with the traditional sweet, putharekulu, made a delicious combination. This rice was one of my favourite dishes that day, I kept going back for seconds and thirds. I didn’t quite get around to asking her for the recipe that day but I went by taste and made my own version. Serve with some plain dal or a raita and crispy fryers and this gongura pulihora recipe makes a winning meal. Editing to add: I did ping her for the recipe while writing this post, and it turns out that it was as simple as mixing a Pulla Reddy brand of Gongura Pickle into steamed rice. Nothing else required. How magical is that! 🙂
There are quite a few reputed brands that sell a variety of thokkus (like a pickle / chutney in lot of oil used to preserve the pickle). If you manage to lay your hands on a gongura thokku, then just mixing that into some steamed rice and adding a tempering of chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds and peanuts will make a super quick version of the same dish. This Pulikachal mix from Grand Sweets is one such thokku that helps you make instant rice dishes.
Equipment required for making Gongura Pulihora:
Large pan – Kadai
Smaller pan for tempering
- 3 cups cooked rice* short grain is good
- 2 tbsp gingelly oil
- 2 tbsp oil divided
- pinch of asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi
- 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
- 5-6 dried red chillies
- 2-3 green chillies
- 2 tbsp chana dal
- 1 tbsp urad dal
- 3 cups gongura leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 1/4 cup raw peanuts
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- *The rice must be cooked and cooled in a wide dish, such that each grain is separate.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Sprinkle a pinch of asafoetida, followed by mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves, red chillies, green chillies, chana dal, urad dal and sauté until the dals turn golden brown. Take care not to burn the dal.
- Throw in the roughly chopped gongura (roselle) leaves and stir on a high flame. If the leaves are fresh and tender, they will start wilting immediately. Stir around for 3-4 minutes until they almost collapse into a coarse paste. Season this mixture with salt and add in sambar powder and turmeric. Stir to incorporate well.
- Gently mix in the cooked rice until the gongura mixture is uniformly spread through. Remove this gongura rice / pulihora on a serving platter or in a bowl.
- In a small pan, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil. Fry the peanuts until they turn a couple of shades darker. Quickly drop in the curry leaves. As soon as they crisp up, transfer this over the gongura pulihora.
- Serve hot with crispy fryums / papads and a cooling raita.