Friday 26 June 2015

Sorrel or Gongura Thokku (புளிச்ச கீரை தொக்கு)

Thokku (தொக்கு) is a form of pickle often made with raw mango, onion, tomato, green chillies, coriander leaves or sorrel leaves. Gongura or sorrel (புளிச்ச கீரை () புளி கீரை) has a specific sour taste and is commonly used in Andhra cuisine. Gongura is rich in iron, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. It can be used to make chutney, dhal, pachadi or pickle. I use a short cut method to make gongura thokku (புளிச்ச கீரை தொக்கு) and it works well for me. Nonetheless, I am also sharing here the traditional recipe so that you can make your choice. Gongura thokku can be eaten mixed with steamed rice and ghee. Alternatively it can be used as an accompaniment to curd rice or dhal rice.

Gongura or sorrel leaves
Gongura or sorrel leaves – 1 bunch
Salt – to taste
Gingili oil – two small hollow ladleful or 100ml measure
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Split urad dhal – 1 teaspoon
Bengal gram dhal – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few (optional)

For the masala:
Red chilli powder – 2 teaspoons (adjust to taste)
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek powder – ¼ teaspoon  

For traditional masala: Alternatively, you may prepare masala in the traditional method. Fry the following ingredients in little oil and powder the fried items finely. Use this masala instead of the powders listed above.

Red chillies – 5 no (adjust to taste)
Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds – ¾-1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ teaspoon 

Method: Separate gongura leaves from the stem, wash 2-3 times in water and drain completely. Fry the leaves in a kadai on medium flame, stirring on and off. Add salt and mix well. After 5-10 minutes, the leaves get cooked and water gets absorbed fully. At this stage, mash the contents well with a ladle. Now add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fenugreek powder. Mix well. Heat oil in a spice pan, add mustard seeds and when they start to sputter, add urad dhal and Bengal gram dhal. Sauté till the dhals turn golden brown in color. Switch off the fire and add curry leaves. Now add the seasoning to the thokku. 
Cook gongura thokku on low flame till oil separates.
Continue to cook on low flame till the thokku becomes a uniform mass and oil separates. Switch off the stove. Allow it to cool and transfer the thokku to a clean, dry jar. If stored properly gongura thokku stays fresh for a couple of weeks.
Sorrel or Gongura Thokku (புளிச்ச கீரை தொக்கு)
Note: Always use a dry spoon to handle gongura thokku

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