Gongura Rice Recipe | Spiced Red Sorrel Leaves Rice

Looking for an interesting recipe with leftover rice? Then try this Gongura Rice Recipe. It is a tangy, spicy, and lip-smacking rice dish made with gongura leaves and basic South Indian tempering ingredients.  Check out yet another easy rice recipe with detailed step-wise pictures.

Coming from a South Indian background, our house always has jars full of pickles. From mango-based pickles like Avakkai, Maagai to specialty pickles like Ginger pickle, Tomato pickle, and Gongura pickle. Any pickle with hot rice and a dollop of clarified butter (ghee) is comfort food at its best.

Apart from gongura rice, there are many rice dishes in South Indian cuisine that are made using a bowl of cooked rice and a few basic spices like lemon rice, tamarind rice, tomato rice, etc. Gongura rice was never made at home until I first tried it in a restaurant.

A quick look at the menu, a few names that especially caught my attention were Gongura Mamsam (mutton), Gongura Chicken, Gongura Chicken Pulao, and Gongura Royyalu (prawns). I instantly ordered gongura chicken pulao. After a morsel, the variation of the tangy taste of the leaves made it a special dish. Also, the rice dish had a copious amount of green chilies (in the form of a paste) making it delightfully spicy.

Today I’m sharing the Gongura rice recipe which is 100% vegetarian. This gongura rice recipe is a delicious one that is simply irresistible.

After relocating to Hyderabad, I’ve picked up the food culture of certain regions and the same will reflect in my future posts.

gongura rice recipe

What is Gongura Rice?

Gongura Rice is a popular rice dish from the South Indian cuisine, Andhra to be specific. In Telugu-speaking regions, Gongura rice is also called Gongura Annam.

This green leafy vegetable is known by different names all over the country – Gongura in Telugu, Red Sorrel leaves or Roselle in English, Pulicha Keerai in Tamil, and Ambadi in Marathi. In Andhra, these leaves are widely used to make curries, pappu/dal, and pickles/chutneys.

As these leaves are sour in taste, the leaves are also used to make pulihora. Tamarind is substituted with sorrel leaves.

What makes Gongura Rice unique? It is the tart flavor of gongura leaves that melds beautifully with the South Indian tempering and yields a scrumptious rice dish.

Gongura dishes such as pappu, pickle (pachadi), or rice are commonly seen in housewarming ceremonies, functions, or weddings of Telugu families.

About Gongura Rice Recipe

Made with minimal ingredients, this Gongura Rice Recipe cannot be simpler. the making process is similar to fried rice. With leftover rice, the dish comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Traditionally, gongura leaves were used mostly to make pachadi and pappu. Nowadays, is being used to make trendy recipes like biryani, pulao, and non veg stir-fries as well.

It has a characteristic tart-sour taste which gives a dish (veg or non-veg) a delicious twist.

I like to add garlic and cumin seeds while making the gongura paste. They both make the rice more flavorful and tasty.

In this gongura rice dish, roselle leaves give its characteristic tangy-sour taste and green chilies add the required spice.

Try this recipe once and I’m sure you will thank me for introducing you to an amazing new flavored rice dish. If you want to try this recipe and do not like sour-tasting foods, you can reduce the gongura leaves.

Reasons to make

A tangy, spicy, and flavorful rice dish.

A complete meal in itself.

Minimal ingredients.

Apt to pack for lunchboxes (school or office).

Perfect to pack for picnic or travel.

Gongura is a versatile and nutrient-dense green leafy vegetable.

how to make gongura rice

Health benefits of Gongura

Gongura leaves are rich in antioxidants, and vitamins (including B6, C, and A).

Good source of folic acid and iron.

Abundance in calcium to keep your bones strong.

Rich in minerals – magnesium and phosphorus.

Vitamin C boosts the immune system to fight various diseases and helps in iron absorption.

It increases the number of white blood cells in the body.

Good source of fiber.

Pro Tips

Leftover rice is the best for this recipe. If you do not have leftover rice, cook ahead of time and cool it completely.

Lentils, peanuts, and cashews are added crunch and of course nutrition.

I ground gongura leaves to paste. If you are in a hurry or do not have a mixer, you can add the leaves directly and saute them well.

The leaves don’t taste the same all time. So test the taste gongura paste after cooking it well and if your sorrel leaves are not tangy, add a little bit of tamarind pulp to give it extra sourness. Cook the tamarind pulp well before adding the cooked rice.

If you are planning to make this dish for guests, make it a few hours ahead. With time, the flavors mature and taste better.

Do not add red chili powder as it will change the color of the dish.

Green chilies are added to balance the sour taste of sorrel leaves. Alter the number of green chilies according to your spice level liking.

Thickly chopped onions pairs well with gongura, be it pachadi or rice dish. In the South onion is a must with any gongura dish. You can skip it if you do not like the raw taste of onions.

How to select Gongura leaves?

Gongura leaves are sold as bunches in Indian grocery stores or vegetable markets.

Look for leaves that are small in size, firm, unwilted, and vividly deep green in color. Make sure they are not dry or torn and there are no signs of yellowing or browning.

Ingredients

Gongura leaves: It is the main ingredient in this dish. There are two varieties available in the market;

1. Green leaves with maroon-colored stems.

2. Green leaves with green-colored stems.

I’ve used maroon variety in this recipe. This variety is sourer than the green-colored stems.

For the paste: Green chilies, garlic cloves, and cumin seeds.

Green chilies are the only spice in this recipe.

Rice: I’ve used medium-grain rice. You can also use short-grain rice like sona masoori. Traditionally, basmati/long grain rice is not used to make this rice dish. But, feel free to use it to make the rice dish more appealing.

Tempering: Oil, raw peanuts, split black lentils, bengal gram, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chilies, curry leaves, and green chilies.

Seasonings & Herbs: Salt and coriander leaves.

Clarified butter (ghee): It adds aroma and flavor.

To make it vegan, skip ghee.

How to make Gongura Rice

Pluck the leaves from the stem and wash them thoroughly. Keep them aside.

gongura rice recipe step 1

Take a blender jar and add gongura leaves, garlic pods, and cumin seeds. Grind to a smooth paste by adding 2-3 tbsp water.

gongura rice recipe step 2

Heat oil in a wok over medium flame. When hot, add peanuts, chana dal, and white split urad dal. Saute for 5-10 seconds.

Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them crackle.

Next, add dry red chilies, slit green chilies, and curry leaves. Saute until the leaves turn crisp.

gongura rice recipe step 3

Add the gongura paste and mix well to incorporate it with the other ingredients.

Add salt and continue to saute until they lose raw flavor and oil oozes out from the edges.

Add the cashews. Note: you can add them along with green chilies and saute them until they turn a light golden color.

gongura rice recipe step 4

Turn the flame to low and add the cooked rice. Mix gently with a flat metal/silicon spatula to make sure that the rice grains do not break. Saute for 1-2 minutes by stirring at regular intervals.

Pour 1 tbsp ghee and give a good mix.

Add thickly chopped onions and mix.

Lastly, add coriander leaves.

Gongura Rice is ready. Serve it hot or warm.

gongura rice recipe step 5

Serving Suggestions

Gongura rice is a stand-alone meal in itself. You can relish it with side dishes such as potato fry, crispy poppadums/papad, egg omelet, or cooling raita to complete this healthy meal.

Storage Suggestions

If there is a leftover or made a large batch, store it refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Gongura rice lasts longer if stored without onions in it.

Before serving, reheat the rice in a microwave or in a pan on the stovetop until warm. Add onions fresh to lift up the flavors of this delicacy.

Variations

Add a few coriander and mint leaves while grinding gongura leaves.

You can follow the same recipe to make gongura chicken. Skip lentils and mustard seeds in the tempering. Pre-cook the chicken and add it after cooking the gongura leaf paste well. Saute chicken well so that flavors seep in. Add the cooked rice and mix well.

Can add paneer cubes to make Gongura Paneer rice.

red sorrel leaves rice

More Rice Recipes

Veg Pulao

Bagara Rice

Coriander rice

Jeera rice

If you’ve tried this Gongura Rice Recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Recipe Card

how to make gongura rice

Gongura Rice Recipe | Spiced Red Sorrel Leaves Rice

Author: Santosh Allada
Gongura rice is a popular rice dish from Andhra cuisine. This rice dish has a balanced taste of sourness from sorrel leaves and spice from green chilies. Serve it as a main course with papad or potato fry.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Andhra, South Indian
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

For Gongura paste

  • 2 cups Gongura leaves (preferably red sorrel leaves, stems removed and washed)
  • 5-7 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 5-7 numbers Green chilies (adjust as per your taste)

For Gongura rice

  • 2 cups Cooked Rice (leftover or freshly cooked and cooled)
  • 3-4 tbsp Oil
  • 2-3 tbsp Raw peanuts
  • 1 tsp Split black lentils (urad dal)
  • 1/2 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 3-4 numbers Dry red chilies (whole or broken)
  • 2-3 numbers Green chilies (slit)
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 5-7 whole Cashews (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 1/2 Onion (thickly chopped)

Instructions
 

To wash gongura leaves

  • Pluck the leaves from the stem and wash them thoroughly. Keep them aside.

To make gongura paste

  • Take a blender jar and add gongura leaves, garlic pods, and cumin seeds. Grind to a smooth paste by adding 2-3 tbsp water.

To make gongura rice

  • Heat oil in a wok or pan over medium flame. When hot, add peanuts, chana dal, and white split urad dal. Saute for 5-10 seconds.
  • Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Next, add dry red chilies, slit green chilies, and curry leaves. Saute until the leaves turn crisp.
  • Add the gongura paste and mix well to incorporate it with the other ingredients. Add salt and continue to saute until they lose raw flavor and oil oozes out from the edges.
  • Add the cashews. Note: you can add them along with green chilies and saute them until they turn a light golden color.
  • Turn the flame to low and add the cooked rice. Mix gently with a flat metal/silicon spatula to make sure that the rice grains do not break. Saute for 1-2 minutes by stirring at regular intervals.
  • Pour 1 tbsp ghee and give a good mix.
  • Add thickly chopped onions and mix.
  • Lastly, add coriander leaves.
  • Gongura Rice is ready. Serve it hot or warm.

Notes

Make sure rice is cooked in such a way that the grains are separate. 
While making on festival days, skip onion and garlic.
Adjust the quantity of tempering ingredients as per taste.


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