Pundi Palya: An Aromatic Dal Packed With Local Flavours
Image Credit: Pundi Palya

Pundi Palya is a lip-smacking dal made using local greens, called pundi leaves, which bring in a natural tangy taste to the dal. A dish from Karnataka, packed with flavours from the garlic and subtle spices, that will make you say wow. This Pundi Palya is a sourly and very tasty delicacy with earthy flavour that comes from Pundi leaves. The tangy flavour of the Pundi leaves is perfectly balanced with tur dal in this recipe. It complements the rice at its best without overpowering it. Pundi Leaves are also known as Sorrel or Roselle Leaves in English, Pulicha Keerai in Tamil and Ambaadi In Marathi.

The Roselle plant is grown in the Southern part of India. It is known as Pundi or Gongura in the local language. These green leafy vegetables are a rich source of iron, vitamin B6, folic acid and antioxidants essential for human nutrition. The iron and vitamins present in it help in preventing conditions such as osteoporosis. 

Pundi leaves are native to Asia, specifically parts of Malaysia and India, and grow wild in tropical to subtropical climates. Much of the history of the plant is unknown, but experts believe the subshrub was transported to Africa sometime in the Early Ages. Over time, Pundi plants were spread to tropical, subtropical, temperate regions worldwide. Today Pundi plants are found worldwide and are commercially grown on a small scale, found wild, or planted in home gardens. The plants are widely found throughout Southeast Asia and are also a common culinary ingredient in West Africa and India. When in season, Pundi leaves are sold through local wet markets.

Pundi Palya 

Serving: 4 


    1 cup toor dal dry

    100 grams of fresh Pundi leaves plucked out

    ½ tsp turmeric powder

    2 tbsp ghee

    pinch of asafoetida optional

    1 tsp cumin seeds

    ½ tsp mustard seeds

    2 sprigs curry leaves

    1-4 green chillies depending on your liking

    8 cloves garlic

    1 inch knob fresh ginger

    1 medium onion thinly sliced

    1 tsp salt


1.    Wash the dal. 

2.    Soak the plucked out pundi leaves in a bowl of water, chop them roughly and keep aside.

3.    In a pressure cooker, add the toor dal, chopped pundi leaves and turmeric and 3½ cups water and pressure cook for 2 whistles and keep flame on sim for 10-12 minutes.

4.    Once the cooker is cool enough, open the lid and mash the dal along with the pundi using the back of a round ladle. 

5.    Peel, smash and finely chop the garlic cloves, grate the ginger, slit the green chillies and keep these ingredients ready for tempering. 

6.    To prepare the tempering for the pundi palya, heat ghee in a large kadai.

7.    Sprinkle the asafoetida, cumin, and mustard seeds.

8.     As soon as the seeds splutter, strip off curry leaves from the stems and add to the ghee, along with slit green chillies, garlic, and ginger.

9.    Stir for a minute on low flame.

10.    Add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sweat on a medium flame for 7-8 minutes until the onions are soft.

11.    Transfer the cooked dal and pundi to this tempering, along with the salt 

12.    Adjust consistency with some water, if needed.

13.    Serve hot with rice and ghee, and any other vegetable dish.