Chukkakura, also known as red sorrel or Khatta palak in hindi is a very unique, sour-tasting green leafy vegetable. You could say it is slightly similar to gongura in flavour. The sourness of this green tastes good with a combinations of lentils (chukkakura pappu) or as a stew(pulusu). It can also be made into a chutney. If you are tasting this green for the first time, dal will be a good option to introduce yourself to its flavour.
The combination of dal and chukkakura is not only healthy and wholesome, but also delicious, balancing out all flavours.
Here is a simple recipe for chukkakura pappu:
Chukkakura/red sorrel leaves/khatta palak – 2 small bunches
Remove the thick stems, wash well, chop finely and keep aside.
Toor dal/kandhi pappu/yellow lentils- 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves – 4 or 5 peeled
Onion- 1 small finely chopped
Green chillies – 2 to 3 slit and halved
Tomato – 1 small chopped
Onion – 1 small peeled and chopped roughly
Salt- to taste
Chilli powder – to taste (optional)
Oil – for tempering
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal -1/2 tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu -1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds/ avalu – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies – 1-2 broken
Hing/asafetida – a couple of pinches
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Curry leaves – few optional
Pressure cook the toor dal with double the measure of water, tomatoes and garlic cloves. You can add the green chillies either to the pressure cooker or you can add it later to the tempering. Once the dal is cooked, mash well with the back of a round spoon and set aside.
Ready a heavy bottomed pan a a kadhai for the tempering. Warm up some oil and add the channa dal and urad dal. Allow them to fry slightly. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Allow them to pop. Add the dry red chillies, asafotieda and turmeric powder. Add the green chillies and curry leaves at this stage if adding. Allow to saute. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Onions will add slight sweetness to balance out the sourness of the greens and the tang of tomatoes.
Now add the chopped greens. Allow the greens to fry and wilt slightly. You will see that the colour changes from brilliant green to a slightly brownish shade.
Add the cooked dal to this mixture and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for a couple of minutes. Add salt and chilli powder. Adjust according to taste. You can also add a pinch of sugar to cut down the sourness of the dal slightly.
Turn off the heat.
Serve with rice.