If you have stayed in Andhra for some time, eaten from an Andhra mess or dined at a friend’s place you would know what Gongura is. They make chutneys (mixed with tamarind), dal like the palak dal, and pickles out of it. It is a difficult taste to sink in immediately. Like the Amla, if we keep on chewing it for a while the sourness will definitely lead to sweetness.
Three things that put me off in the state of Andhra Pradesh initially were the too much of groundnut in their coconut chutney (I loved groundnut chutney by itself, but this was too much to take), the green dosa (Pesarattu, officially….green because the key ingredient is moong dal) and anything with gongura in it. (Gongura is sour/bitter) I used to find it difficult to put a morsel into my mouth with these dishes around (that too when I’m not fussy about what I eat)!! Skipped breakfast whenever they served the green dosa (the mess secretary lived next door), had lunch and dinner with lots of Priya pickle (my saviour). Thank Heavens, that I just came down with Gastroenteritis once while at the hostel. No ulcers or permanent disorders to the digestive system. But how long can one ignore the pangs of hunger when the stock of bread, biscuts and cornflakes are over and you forgot to buy them? I started feeding on the Andhra delicacies and interestingly began liking all of them to the extend that I made Pesarratu once at home with the help of my roommate’s mother who was visiting us. I still have a bottle of Gongura pickle in my room now.
Called the MLA Pesarattu as hungry Mlas used to sneak upma in these green dosas during those long assembly sessions:)) Restaurants serve both versions, the one with the upma (like potato masala in masala dosa) and the plain one with onions usually with a nice tangy ginger chutney…yummy