Gongura leaves (Kenaf leaves in English) curry is known as ‘Ambadi bhaji’ in Maharashtra, India. The leaves are sour and impart the tart flavor. Maharashtrian ‘Ambadi’ curry recipe is very different and prepared with a unique combination of ingredients. I learned this curry preparation from my mom.
Fried garlic and fried red (dry) chili play a significant role and are added as toppings while serving the curry. Crunchy fried garlic, tangy leaves, sweet jaggery, crushed red chili, soaked and then cooked peanuts, and chana dal makes the curry incredibly delicious.
- A bunch of Gongura leaves.
- 2 tbsp aromatic white rice.
- Six large garlic cloves.
- Three green chilies.
- Two dry red chilies.
- 3 tbsp raw peanuts.
- 2 tsp split baby chickpeas (chana dal.)
- 2 tbsp roasted peanut powder.
(I’ve shared the steps of making roasted peanut powder in the recipe section.)
- 2 tbsp gram flour (besan.)
- 3 tbsp Indian palm sugar (jaggery.)
- 3 tbsp oil.
- Salt as per your taste.
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
- Pick aromatic white rice of your choice and coarsely pulse it, as shown in picture #2. (I used ‘Ambemohar’ rice for this recipe. )
- Pluck leaves from the stems, blanch them, and drain the water.
(These leaves are quite sour, discarding the water helps lessen the sourness.)
- Soak raw peanuts, chana dal (baby split chickpeas), and pulsed rice for 5 hrs in water.
- Chop garlic cloves into small pieces and keep them aside.
- Next, combine blanched leaves, chopped green chilies, and gram flour in a blender. Coarsely grind the mixture into a paste.
- Heat oil in a wok, add mustard seeds once the oil is hot, and wait till the mustard seeds start spluttering.
- Now, add turmeric powder, pour the blended paste, and 2 cups of water.
- Next, add soaked peanuts, chana dal, and pulsed rice in the wok. Sprinkle salt and mix everything well.
- Cover the wok with a lid and let it cook for 14 to 15 minutes on a medium flame. Keep stirring in-between. (Alternatively, you can pressure cook leaves mixture, chana dal, and peanuts together before making the curry.)
- Once the curry comes to a boil, reduce the flame, then add roasted peanut powder and jaggery (Indian palm sugar.)
(Roasted peanut powder: dry roast raw peanuts, let them cool down, and then grind them coarsely in a blender.)
- Mix everything well, add little water if the consistency is too thick, and let the curry cook for a a couple of minutes.
- Sweet and tangy ‘Ambadi’ (Gongura) curry is now ready. Transfer it into a serving bowl.
- The next step is to prepare the toppings that make this curry more flavorful.
- Heat oil in a wok.
- Add chopped garlic once the oil is hot. Fry garlic till golden brown, as shown in picture #4.
- Transfer the fried garlic from the wok to a small bowl.
- Next, fry dried red chili in the same oil for a minute and transfer it in the bowl with garlic.
- Add mustard seeds in the same hot oil. Mustard seeds will start spluttering pretty quickly, transfer the oil and mustard seeds to the bowl, and combine all toppings ingredients,
as shown in picture #5
- Add fried garlic, 1/2 tsp oil and mustard seeds, and dry red chili as toppings while serving the curry.
- Next, crush fried dry chili, mix garlic, oil, and mustard seeds. Enjoy with wheat roti or sorghum (jowar) roti.
You can use 1/2 cup cooked split piegon peas (toor dal) instead of gram flour (besan.) The curry goes well with sorghum (Jowar) roti and wheat roti.