August 26, 2013

Gongura Pesto

If you are an Indian and live in the USA, you might have at least one Telugu friend, and there is a high likelihood of you having tasted gongura in some form (e.g. gongura dal, gongura pachady, gongura pickle, gongura chicken, you name it). Gongura is a sour variety of greens (close relative of Hibiscus) recorded to be rich in iron, fiber, folic acid and antioxidants.  

I have a few friends from this part of the US who try and grow gongura leaves in the vegetable patch with a lot of patience. I mean, you need to be really patient to start something from the seed, and take good care only to get returns during the 2 months of summer here. Couple of my friends have been really generous to share their crops with me and I really appreciate this fresh'n' homemade produce :)

Now for today's recipe,  I just threw the idea of gongura pesto at my husband and son. Both being big gongura fans, they gave immediate approval and here it is :) 

  • Gongura leaves - 1 packed cup
  • Pine nuts - 1/4 cup
  • Garlic - 1-2 cloves
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Green chilly - 1-2
  • EV olive oil -2 T
  • Heat a shallow pan on medium heat add a drizzle of EV olive oil and roast the garlic and green chilly.
  • Add the gongura leaves and remove the pan from flame. Keep it covered for a few minutes till the leaves are just wilted. Let it cool completely.
  • Transfer to a blender or food processor along with pine nuts, olive oil and salt.
  • Blend till you get a coarse and chunky pesto.  You might want to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
  • I served it with steamed yam noodles (yam julienne'd in spirals and steamed) but you could serve it with any pasta, as a sandwich spread or as a dip.

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