Gongura Pappu is a delicious, healthy and nourishing dish of lentils cooked with gongura leaves, spices and curry leaves. For a comforting meal, serve it with plain rice & ghee alongside Avakaya or Mango Pickle & papads. Gongura pappu is a staple in Andhra and Telangana regions of Southern India. Tangy, spicy and delicious is how this lentil dish tastes and a lot of people love this dish for the ease of cooking & the health benefits it offers.
Gongura belongs to a family of Roselle and is known as Ambaadi in Marathi, Pulichakeerai in Tamil and Pundi Palle in Kannada. The leaves of this plant are a rich source of iron, folic-acid and many vitamins. So these are often used to cook many dishes like chutney, curry, sambar, pickle and dal dishes.
About Gongura Pappu
Gongura pappu is protein packed and iron-rich so make sure you eat it at least once in a while if these are available to you. Gongura is not easily available like spinach or other leafy greens, so look for it in a South Indian Stores.
In this post I have shown making it the traditional way where lentils are cooked first until soft and then gongura is added to it along with onions and chilies. When the leaves wilt and soften completely, I make a tempering. However you will find many other ways to make this.
Sometimes I also pressure cook all of them together including gongura. The flavor of this is different as the leaves are overcooked. Make a tempering at the end. A few times I felt the dal did not cook well since I cooked it with the gongura. Acidic ingredients hinder the lentils from cooking softer.
To make in the Instant pot, I make the tempering first and then add all the other ingredients. Pressure cook for 10 mins. If using mature leaves, increase the timing to 12 mins.
People on a low oxalate diet also blanch the leaves and add them to the cooked dal. Some people are allergic to gongura, so blanching helps to minimize the allergic effects.
There are 2 kinds of gongura – red and green. While one is too sour and the other is moderately sour.
I have not used tomatoes but you can use them if your leaves are not too sour.
How to Make Gongura Pappu (Stepwise Photos)
1. Pluck 1 cup gongura, add them to a large bowl filled with salted water. Leave it for a while for the mud or dirt to settle down at the bottom. Rinse several times in fresh water and drain them. For this recipe you will need 1 cup chopped gongura leaves.
2. Wash ¾ cup dal and pour 2 cups water. You can use half moong and half toor dal if you want. But traditionally only toor dal is used.
3. Pressure cook on a medium flame until you hear 1 to 3 whistles, depending on the kind of cooker. I pressure cook for 1 whistle. If cooking in a normal pot without cooker, bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cook on a medium to low heat until tender , soft and mushy. If required add more hot water.
4. I like to mash the dal to smooth. If you prefer some texture, don’t mash. Make sure the lentils are cooked fully as they won’t cook well after adding gongura.
Make Gongura Pappu
5. Add chopped gongura, 1 to 3 slit green chilies, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric and 1 small sliced onion. Mix well and pour some hot water.
6. Bring it to a rolling boil and reduce the heat. Cook until gongura is completely tender and cooked. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Taste test for salt and spice.
7. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee or 1 tablespoon oil to a pan. Heat up on a medium heat. Add ¼ teaspoon mustard, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, red chilies, curd chilies (optional), 1 to 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 sprig curry leaves (pat dry) and a pinch of hing. Saute until the curry leaves turn crisp. Set your curd chilies aside to retain their crisp texture. If you like your dal to be spicy, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chilli powder to the hot tempering. Be careful as it burns quickly.
8. Pour this over the gongura pappu.
Serve gongura pappu with rice or phulka.
The proportion of dal to gongura used depends on how sour the leaves are. Judge how much to use. The proportions mentioned in the recipe suit our taste buds. Using too much of gongura can make the dal very sour.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
Gongura Pappu (Gongura Dal)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Vitamin A 425IU9%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Gongura Pappu Recipe First published in March 2015. Updated & republished in August 2022.