I've always been a rebel. Ever since I can remember I would want to take the off beaten path. I enjoy the thrill of a new challenge. I notice that I do that with my cooking too, right from the point of buying vegetables. I am always attracted to stuff I haven't seen in my mom's kitchen and I always pick it up just to try it out. The first time I picked up sorrel leaves I only knew I could make the famous gongura chutney with them. But as I delved deeper I realized sorrel is a very commonly used leafy green all throughout Europe and Africa. They use it in soups, salads, cakes and even as a drink.
Sorrel is varitey of sour leafy greens that we usually get after the monsoon right up into winter. They could replace the tamarind in dals or add another dimension to the bitter Fenugreek/ Methi leaves. I just stuck to doing what I knew and that was the chutney. On another attempt I might try the soup.
Since I cook oil-free 95% of the time, this recipe avoids the oil needed for tempering. It might not last as long as it should but fresh food is always tastier.
One bunch of sorrel leaves, stalks removed and chopped
2-3 dried red chillies
1/2 teaspoon husked, split urad dal
Salt to taste
Put about a tablespoon of water in a deep bottomed pan. When it begins to boil, add the sorrel leaves and salt. Cover with a lid. Keep checking on in. They will eventually wilt and change colour to an olive green.If there is too much water in the pan don't cover it. If they begin to stick to the bottom add a teaspoon of water at a time and stir it around. Once all the leaves are cooked take it off the stove. Let it cool for a while before you grind it to a paste.
In a small wok or a tempering spoon like the one on the left, add the split urad dal once it is hot. Keep shaking the wok/spoon until the dal is evenly brown.
Remove it and in the same wok/spoon, roast the red chillies till they are slightly darker.
You can grind the chillies with the sorrel if you like it spicy.
Add the dal and the chilli to the sorrel. Serve with some warm rice. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.