Soak rice for at least 15 minutes. Combine rice with water, turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.* Cook rice such that the grains are separate. Once the rice is done, transfer it on to a wide bowl or plate and set aside to cool.
Make Gongura spice mixture:
Heat oil in a sauté pan, add peanuts, chana and urad dal. Cook till they are lightly brown. Add mustard seeds, dry red chilies, asafetida and cook till the seeds start to splutter. Add curry leaves and green chilies and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the chopped gongura to the pan. Cook till the leaves wilt and everything comes together into a sticky mass. Season with salt. If using gongura paste, then add it and mix well to incorporate with the other ingredients. Add a splash of water, if the mixture looks too thick. Turn off the heat.
Add the gongura mixture to the cooked rice. Mix gently to make sure that the grains don't break. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt or lemon juice*. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I prefer using sona masoori rice for this gongura pulihora recipe. You can use any medium or long grain rice variety. Make sure that it does not get sticky once cooked.
To cook sona masoori rice:
Instant Pot - cook on manual/ high pressure mode for 8 minutes.
Pressure cooker - 2 whistles
Gongura leaves come in 2 varieties - red and white. You can use either one to make this pulihora. But note that red variety is slightly more sour or tart than the white.
I usually make a paste of fresh gongura leaves and store in the fridge. This lasts for at least 2-3 months if stored properly.
To make the paste, wash and dry the leaves thoroughly by laying them on a kitchen towel.
Once completely dry, finely chop the leaves., add them to a preheated sauté pan and cook on medium heat. The leaves will wilt completely and form a sticky mixture. Turn off the heat and add enough salt.
If you want to store the gongura paste for longer, then add more salt because it adds as a preservative. If you don't add enough, then the mixture might get moldy and spoil.
When you are using the paste in dishes, note that it already has enough salt, so add sparingly.
If you can't find fresh, then cans of cooked gongura is also available in Indian groceries. Look for these in the pickles aisle. Please note that these pre-cooked greens have salt added as preservative. So make sure to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe.
Sometimes gongura leaves may not taste sour enough. Then add a little bit of lemon juice or even tamarind paste to compensate for the sourness.