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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

Luv,
Mona