Gundruk is probably the most popular and loved food in Nepal. It is very authentic to Nepal and enjoyed by all ethnic communities in Nepal from terai, hills to mountains. It is dried fermented leafy vegetables, made generally from mustard green leaves (rayo ko saag), radish leaves (mula ko saag), cauliflower leaves (cauli ko paat). In Nepal, when we have excess these leafy vegetables before winter, we usually put them in clay pots for a week or more to ferment, and later sun-dried, which can be store for a year or more. The fermentation process helps in developing very peculiar smell and tangy flavor. This provides minerals and vitamins when we have less fresh vegetables during winter and dry season.
Here is a very common recipe of Gundruk ko Jhol with soyabean (bhatamaas)
1 bowl or big handful Gundruk
½ cup Soybeans (preferred black one)
1 medium size Onion
3 clove Garlic
1 small Ginger
3 medium size Tomatoes
1 tsp Cumin and Coriander powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 Green Chilies
½ tsp Fenugreek seed
½ tsp Mustard seed
Fresh Coriander leaves
2 tbs Pure Mustard Oil (or any vegetable oil)
Heat karahi or deep cooking pan/pot greased with some mustard oil, roast soybeans with continuous stirring for 4-5 mins until they crack open. Transfer the roasted soybeans to a bowl.
In the same pot, add a tbs of mustard oil, and sauté a bowl of gundruk for around 2 mins with continuous stirring, until it starts releasing fermented aroma. Transfer the gundruk in other bowl.
In a medium heat, add two tbs of mustard oil in the same pot. Fry fenugreek and mustard seed after oil starts smoking. Add chopped onions, green chilies cut in half and finely chopped/grated garlic and ginger, and fry until light brown. Add turmeric powder and then chopped tomatoes. Add a tbs of salt (or according to your taste and the quantity of soup you are making) and cumin and coriander powder (or you can use curry powder). Add 2 tbs of water and cook until it turns gravy.
Add 2-3 cups of water and bring to boil. Add sautéed gundruk, put the lid on and cook for around 8-10 mins in low medium heat. Turn the heat off, squeeze a lime juice and let it cool down for few mins. Add roasted soybeans in the soup and serve in a bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. You can just slurp the soup or you can have the soup with steamed rice or bread/roti.