At Last ~ Garden and Gongura!

gongura pappu (dal) in EAPG bowl
gongura pappu in a Michigan pattern bowl by U.S. Glass (circa 1900s) ~
september veggies in a wooden Munising bowl (circa 1920s) behind

Ever since I became interested in cooking honest Indian food, I have been looking for gongura. Although I live in an urban area with a sizable Indian population, the fresh vegetable has, thus far, evaded me. I could never find it in any store. I couldn’t even grow it, try as I might; when I finally found the seeds and planted it this spring, the bunnies relished every bite.

Yesterday, after eighteen months of searching, I hit paydirt. A big, beautiful bunch of gongura was the prize, and I eagerly carried it off home. This evening I washed it well, stripped off the leaves and tenderest stems, and washed them all again. Then I made gongura pappu.

sprig of gongura
elusive and elegant gongura

I followed Indira’s recipe, and the tangy taste-treat that resulted was nothing short of superb. I was so happy to end this long weekend of indulgence with this simple, honest, and oh-so-long-awaited dal. Thanks, Indira!

gongura pappu
gongura pappu from Mahanandi

Speaking of long-awaited, the little-garden-that-could is begninning to show her true colors. Eggplant and squash are still bearing fruit, tomatoes are coming fast and furious, and I finally managed to get a few green beans as well as two, countem’ two okras from my plants. Beans and okra in pots on the deck fared much better than those planted directly in the garden; it seems bunnies love bean and okra foliage as much as gongura 😉

early girl tomatoes
“early girl” tomatoes ripen late…

golden jubilee tomatoes
golden jubilee tomatoes, a variety suggested by mom… thanks, mom!

september veggies
a long-awaited harvest from the little-garden-that-could!

storm clouds over superior
a storm rolls in over lake superior ~ autumn fast approaching…

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28 Comments »

  1. Srivalli said

    So wonderful Linda..your dish looks so inviting…and no words to explain your garden beauty…way to go!

    Thank you Srivalli — am really happy the garden grew! 🙂

  2. Jyothsna said

    How beautiful! The tomatoes look really good! Bunnies don’t like the tomatoes?? 🙂

    Thanks Jyothsna! The chipmunks LOVE tomatoes… more than make up for bunnies. I left them a few at bottom of plants 😉

  3. Srivalli said

    Hi Linda, in my Bisi Bele Bath, the ingredient is called Maretti Moggu or Marathi Moggu. Refer this link for more details. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/cropfactsheets/caper.html#Culinary%20Uses

    Srivalli, thank you so much for that info! I know what capers are, for sure. Now I can try your bisi bele bath 🙂

  4. shyam said

    ahhh.. you got gongura! Such fresh looking gongura too! And I LOVE your produce… you must be soooo proud! Well done! I’m so going to have a garden next summer! (Summer kinda bypassed us this year – we probably couldnt see it for all the rain!) 🙂

    I was so lucky with that gongura, Shammi! (btw always knew you as Shammi but do you prefer Shyam? 🙂 ) I am glad about the garden, yes, thanks! Hope you get alot of summer next year. Even a plant or two in a pot is *really* worth the effort, I learned. Will be watching for your garden 🙂

  5. indosungod said

    The garden bounty should be savored, they are like no other. Okras are so picky so getting 2 from them is good 🙂 You found Gongura!

    Almost ready to pick okra #3, ISG! 😉 The gongura is find-of-the-summer for me! Now I just need to learn to grow brinjal like you can… 🙂

  6. Asha said

    A quick hello to you Linda! still healing, got to get doc’s okay to blog more!:)
    Yummy veggies, I have to ake one post too for GBP. Hope you had a great weekend,I have been listening to music mainly with eyes closed!:D

    Hello, Asha! So happy to see you are up and around, if only for a little — you take good care, keep those eyes rested and listen to some music! And if you need help with RCI things, just give me a shout. Be glad anytime. Just behave and obey the dr. so you’ll be back when ready, good as new. Hugs dear 🙂

  7. RP said

    Always a pleasure to see home grown veggies. Loved all the colors!!

    Thanks RP — I’m glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  8. sandeepa said

    Hey you are back ? So how is the prep for college today morning ? You seem to welcome autumn in all your beautiful colours.

    Hi Sandeepa, yes back to business (work and school and cooking!) and the big boy went off yesterday. He’s gone from Motel 6 to the Ritz, as far as dorms. Only hope he can keep his room clean this year! 😉 I am rather looking forward to autumn now, if only the rest of the tomatoes will ripen first 🙂

  9. bhags said

    I seriously am amazed at your passion for Indian cooking…really interested in knowing the inspiration behind this….wonderful garden produce.
    And yes, congrats for the awards…rightly deserve them

    Hi Bhags, and thank you for your kind words 🙂 I wish I had a real inspiration to help explain — Indian cooking was something I found by accident and felt immediately comfy with. Do you believe in fate? 🙂

  10. Happy Cook said

    Tomotoes look delicious.
    I love this dish. But only time i eat them is when i go to see my sister in Bangalore. As i don’t get here the leaves.

    Hi HC, thank you for visiting and glad you enjoyed the tomatoes and dal. I would love to visit Bangalore someday 🙂

  11. coffee said

    I bet you were an Indian in your last birth!! Or probably all your previous births! 😉

    Your tomato plant looks awesome! 🙂

    Coffee, you are such a dear, thank you! :):)

  12. Rajitha said

    your garden goodies look so beautiful. i have a hard time to eat the produce of my garden, i keep admiring them and when i make something out of them, i keep telling my husband how great it is.. i grew it.. it is delicious right! b’coz i grew it.. i know he hates me 😉

    Hi Rajitha, I love the name of your blog! Hunger pangs, that’s me too 😉 I have a hard time cutting up these tomatoes too. The summer squash somehow doesn’t seem such a “feat” so I can cook that. I am sure your hubby loves your homegrown produce! 🙂

  13. Mishmash! said

    Salute you for all that passion for Indian cooking 🙂
    I second Coffee :))
    ANd your harvest is a real treasure !

    Shn

    Shn, you’re a sweetie right along with Coffee! Thanks so much… I have fun and learn alot from y’all! 🙂

  14. Latha said

    Your garden looks so refreshing Linda! Awesome tomatoes. And the gongura looks so fresh! yummy looking gongura pappu

    Hello Latha, stranger! Happy to see you here 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement. I had lots of fun making a garden this year. Hope you’re all well!

  15. TBC said

    What a lovely garden! I had not realized that you were not Indian till I read a couple of other posts! I am amazed at your passion for Indian cuisine.

    Hi TBC, thanks for visiting 🙂 Nope, am not Indian though am hooked on the cuisine, and the lovely people I’ve met through the blogs. Hope to see you again 🙂

  16. Suganya said

    Every time I come here, mustard seeds is what that catches my attention. How come yrs is so big?

    I don’t know Suganya — I usually buy Swad brand. Maybe they supersize them for U.S.? 🙂

  17. giniann said

    Great yield. Our tomatoes have all frizzled out. Gongara has remained an elusive ingredient here too.

    Hey Gini, nice to see you! I will have alot left unripened before frost, I think. Am going to try green tomato chutney 😉 Gongura, seriously in 18 mos of looking everywhere, never saw till the other day. Ever try growing it?

  18. Swapna said

    Linda,
    I am so proud to see your vegetable harvest. Great going! I have tried to grow coriander and pudina; alas, I ended up killing both:(

    Gongura looks super delicious. We find it in the Indian stores here. Will give it a try.
    Swaps

    Thanks Swaps dear! Indira’s recipe was a winner for sure. I did not use all the chiles this first time, as I wanted to really taste the gongura. It smells great cooking! I grew catnip in a pot on the deck — also a form of mint. That came really well — my coriander was spindly tho 😦 Try again next spring! 🙂

  19. Kumudha said

    I love gongura pickle. It tastes so good with hot rice.

    However, I have not seen gongura leaves at Indian stores. I would love to try this recipe sometime.

    Hope you get a chance to try, Kumudha. I would love to try gongura pickle sometime! 🙂

  20. Nags said

    hey linda, thank u so much for stopping by. you can choose more than one cook book if u want to, make sure u rank them and let me know why you like each of them 🙂 looking forward to your entries 🙂

    Hi Nags, I’ll see if I can choose my *favorite* but if I can’t, thanks for letting me know I could have more than one! 🙂

  21. shyam said

    Call me Shammi, call me Shyam – I dont mind (they’re both me!) Just, as they say, dont call me late for dinner 😀 😀

    Nor I, Shammi, nor I! 😉

  22. mandira said

    Linda, you are my Michigan treasure 🙂 I have to get notes from you on things to do, and for great finds like that bowl! the tomatoes are gorgeous. I saw gongura at a store here, will try it soon.

    Hi Mandira, will have to make you a little custom-travel guide for your Michigan adventures 🙂 If you get to the Upper Peninsula, by Pictured Rocks, you can visit a store that sells all sorts of those wooden Munising bowls in the town of the same name. The glass I mostly pick up at flea markets when lucky. Glad to hear you have fresh veggies nearby your new place! I went to one Indian grocery down in Ypsilanti, may have been last spring. I know there were several around 🙂

  23. neroli said

    How wonderful!
    Don’t you just love it when everything all comes together despite of all the ideas we may hold to the contrary?

    I know what you mean Neroli! And when that happens it’s reason to celebrate for sure 🙂

  24. Diane said

    Beautiful garden!
    I found gongura recently at the farmers market and made gongura dal with it. It was soooooooo good.

    It is delicious, isn’t it Diane? Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  25. h said

    Hi, How far apart do you plant the gongura seeds,I also live in mighigan and for two years i planted the seeds in like 2/3 rows but they just grow max to seedlings and stay at that height..any suggestions?

  26. shruthi said

    hi, i made gonghura pacchadi. can i use gonghura leaves pic from ur blog to add in mine

  27. rupa said

    can somebody here plz tell me how to plant the gongura n when to harvest ?.. i have the seeds

    • Krishna said

      I grow gongura from seeds every year in MI with no problem .try using compost in a pot or on the designated area in your yard. I usually plant. 3 to 4 seeds together at 10 inch distance.wait until it grows to one and half foot high and can start harvesting gently plucking the bigger leaves.wait until the plant looks full of leaves before u harvest again.

      Hi Krishna, thanks for your comment and advice! Do you buy the seeds online? I have used Seeds of India as well as Evergreen seeds, but never bought gongura. Hopefully next spring — unless it can be grown in the fall too. I will have to check. Best wishes! 🙂

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