Ambada Dal

One green leafy vegetable that I missed dearly once I had to leave Hyderabad was Ambaday ki bhaji (in Urdu Language) or Hibiscus Cannabinus, also called as Gongura in Telugu. This sour tasting red stemmed leafy vegetable is an Andhra specialty.

Ambaday ki bhaji

Brimming with good nutrients these leaves are good for health. Rich in protein and low in calories, Kenaf leaves have anti bacterial properties and are abundant in iron, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and Vitamin C. The tender leaves can also be used as salad greens.

The leaves are plucked washed and used in cooking, stems discarded. Pairing it along with dal in the current recipe helps reduce the sour taste of these leaves.

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram
Serves: 4


Ambaday ki bhaji/Fresh Kenaf leaves – about 4 cups, tightly packed
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tspGreen chillies – 3, chopped
Salt – to taste
Fresh curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Chana dal – 1 cup
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 1/2 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic pods – 2, finely sliced

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram


1. Wash and soak the dal in surplus fresh cool water for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse the dal. Now pressure cook the dal in a little water until soft but not mushy. Transfer the cooked dal to a bowl and keep aside.
2. In the same pressure cooker, add the kenaf leaves, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric  powder, salt, curry leaves and just a little bit of water. Pressure cook until the leaves are wilted and then using a dal ghotni or in a mortar and pestle, mash them up thoroughly. Add half the amount of the cooked chana dal and mash it along until smooth. Now add the remaining dal and gently mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. In a small frying pan, prepare the baghaar. Add oil and as soon as it warms up, throw in sliced garlic pods. As soon as it begins to turn into a light red color, add curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Once the spices pop, remove from heat and pour it hot and hissing over the above prepared ambada dal in the serving bowl. Enjoy as a side dish along with meals.

Finally I have been able to spot out two stores that sell this green leafy vegetable in Toronto. Here are the addresses of the stores:
Patel’s Cash and Carry – 416-439-9393
Rexdale grocery store – 416-749-2060
Normally Ambaday ki bhaji or Gongura is available during the months of July to October in Toronto. But they can get it from India and other parts of US.
If you are aware of any more stores that sell it, please let me know.


Enter your email address to receive recipes via email: You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

12 Responses to “Ambada Dal”

  1. Awesome, thanks, this comes just the week after I found an Indian grocery that sells gongura every now and then.
    Great blog.

  2. ambada is my fav. bhaji, in Maharashtra we usually eat it with jowar ki roti, i love the dal too, urs looks delicious !

  3. Comforting dal..

  4. Sigh….Ambada appeared at my farmer’s market three weeks ago but hasn’t shown up since. I’m glad I bought the one bunch that time though!
    The dal looks delicious. When are you coming back to Canada?

    Nabeela, I will be staying in Hyd for a bit longer inshallah.

  5. my favorite…love ambada b it with daal or simply chutney…its awesome i really miss it!!…it shows in riyadh sometimes…

  6. I have seen this in Asian stores; now I can try to cook with it and your recipe is a good start!

  7. Hi Mona. am new to your blog and love your collection of recipes combined with droolworthy pictures. we get Gongura here and dint know how to use them so always made khatta dal with red lentils. this one looks mouthwateringly creamy. gonna make soon.

  8. assk mona
    how r u .long time ,ramadan mubarak.
    was busy few weeks but did get a chance to go through ur last recent recipes and liked all of them.
    i did prepare dhoopnimbu fewdays back and taste good ,thx for rec.
    ambada dal /katli is my fav dish. luv to eat with shaami and plain khushka anytime.
    alhdlh i do get ambada at my place often and i save it for winter using this tip.

    just put the leaves in a non stickpan .add some water, 1 tbsp and few drops oil ,cover and cook on low to med flame for 5 mnt until ambada leaves are tender .keep stirring in between. let it cool down and freeze in zipolac bags .
    u can use these leaves for 2 months, best in katli,daal.

    hope ths helps

    take care,alhfz

  9. Hi mona,

    Where can i find ambada in toronto?

    Lubna, I was never able to find Ambada anywhere in Toronto.

  10. Assalamualaikum Mona,

    I am new to your blog and love your collection of recipes combined with yummy pictures. i love all ur recipes….
    and tried most of the recipes……
    thank u very much…….

  11. i live in Toronto.moved here about 2 years back .Have never seen ambada here.Id appreciate if u will tell if at all it is available here and if yes where ?
    I serve hyderabadi food at parties and people love it >my mom says there is a sweet dish called “namish” can u give me the recipe for it

    Mariam, glad to know that you are from Toronto. Even I have never been able to find Ambada here, it was only when I visited Hyderabad that I got to taste that wonderful vegetable. Also I am not aware of the dish named Namish. I am sorry.

  12. or Nimish

Leave a Reply

Comments Policy