Sundakkai/ Turkey Berry is widely used in South Indian cuisine, especially in the Tamil kitchen, we use both, the fresh berries and the preserved dried ones known as Sundaikkai Vathal. While googling I also read that it's used in Thai cooking too. While growing up in India, I wouldn't even think of eating this vegetable, but after marriage and moving to the US, I started missing it, we hardly found them on the East Coast, I could have only the dried ones that I got from India. It's available on the West coast in some farmers markets. Now that I am back in India, I get plenty of these fresh berries, there are a few dishes that we make with it, today's is the Sundakkai Kuzhambu. The tamarind extract and the jaggery used balances the slight bitter taste of these berries, it tastes awesome when served with some hot white rice..
Need To Have
- Sundakkai/ Turkey Berries - 1 cup
- Onion - 1 medium, chopped
- Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
- Tamarind - lemon sized ball
- Sambar Powder - 3 teaspoons
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
- Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
- Curry Leaves - 10
- Salt - to taste
- Grated Coconut - 1 tablespoon
- White Poppy Seeds - 1 teaspoon
- Shallots - 2
- Jaggery - 1 teaspoon
Grind together all the ingredients given under ' to grind '. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup hot water, when the water is cold enough to handle, squeeze the tamarind well and strain. Repeat with another cup of water (room temperature).
The berries come with a small stalk at one end, remove that and slice it halfway into two, as shown in the picture and keep it soaked in water.
Heat some oil, add the mustard seeds, when it starts spluttering, add the fenugreek seeds, followed by the curry leaves, asafoetida and the chopped onions. Saute for a minute, then add the sundaakkai and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 more minutes, till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the turmeric, sambar powder and salt and mix well. Then add the tamarind extract, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
Now add the ground paste, mix well, if too thick, add a little water, when it starts boiling, reduce the heat and cook uncovered for about 5 to 10 minutes, till oil starts to float on the top. Garnish with more curry leaves, switch off and serve.
Soak the poppy seeds in a little warm water, then grind to get a smooth paste.
You can replace sambar powder with 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 2 teaspoons coriander powder.
You can do the same kuzhambu, replacing the turkey berries with eggplant, cooked chickpeas, bitter gourd or even with potatoes.