Gouramis are terrible community fish. Some people report keeping them in communities without issue, and still recommend them, but I think they are merely lucky with the individual fish they got.
Gouramis have the tendancy to be very aggressive. Do not keep more than 1 male--you will end up with only 1 remaining. I have had them be aggressive with community mates (rasobars) as well, even when showing no interest in building bubble nests. Gouramis can also be very destructive to plants. I had one that ate all stem plants in my tank, even when I kept him fed with fresh veggies. I moved my last gourami to a solo tank.
I personally think it is irresponsible for people to recommend gouramis for community settings, especially to a beginning fish keeper. Unless you are prepared to return or quarantine an aggressive individual, just say no to gouramis in a community setting.
It's perfectly fine to cycle a tank with ammonia following instructions. People have explained this process on the forum. Yes, adding plants and other material is going to give you a start on the process. Remember, cycling is just giving time for nitrifying bacteria to colonize. They turn ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. It's really a very simple process. Don't overthink it.