Pachai Sundakkai Kuzhambu (Chettinad Style)

35 mins
Serves 5 people
Author: Rajni Ram
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Sundakkai/ Chundakkai in Tamil or Turkery Berry in English, as it is widely known, is a vegetable used in South Indian cooking to make a Kuzhambu or a  gravy in which these berries are simmered with spices. As tasty as the Kuzhambu tastes, the berries are slightly bitter and have many medicinal benefits. This Vegetable is also known as Kudenekayi in Kannada or Usthikaya in Telugu. In Hindi it is called Bankatiya. I am giving here different names so that if you know this vegetable, one must try out recipes made of it because of its medicinal properties.

In SouthIndia the berries are blanched and then dried in the sun for a few days until it changes colour and is completely dry. The dried berries are then stored in an airtight jar then used to make the Sundakkai Vathakuzhambu. The dried berries are also fried in ghee and make an yummy accompaniment for curd rice. The berries fried in ghee are also mixed with hot rice and eaten as it is believed that it helps in deworming.

Health benefits of Sundakkai/ Turkey Berry-  cures common cold, helps in treating kidney related issues, treats Anaemia, helps in treating cough and asthma, clears mucus, help in controlling diabetes, and they heal gastric ulcers.1Berry myriad benefits.

In this recipe I am using the fresh Sundakkai and not the dried ones( Vathal).  Here the berries are cooked in tamarind sauce with a spicy, ground masala paste. The fresh berries are little bitter and so have to smashed using a pestle, so that as the Berry gets cooked in the tamarind pulp the bitterness is reduced. I am calling this a Chettinad style Kuzhambu because the masala paste used here is the Chettinad masala paste.

While you are here check out my other recipes like Vathakuzhambu, Rasam, Coriander rice, Karuvepilai Podi and rice, Mor Kuzhambu and more.

Here is the recipe of Pachai Sundakkai Kuzhambu for you

Ingredients

Ingredients

  1. Sundakkai/ Turkey Berry (fresh) 150 gm
  2. Tamarind paste  1.5 tbsp ( or pulp of lemon sized ball)
  3. Onion 1 (medium) diced
  4. Tomato 1 large chopped roughly
  5. Garlic 10 to 12 cloves
  6. Curry leaves a few leaves
  7. Green chillies 2
  8. Gingelly/Til/Sesame oil 1.5 tbsp
  9. Asafoetida 1/2 tsp

To grind

  1. Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  2. Fennel seeds 1.5 tsp
  3. Dry red chilli 2
  4. Kashmiri dry red chilli 1(optional)
  5. Coconut gratings 1.5 tbsp

To temper

  1. Mustard seeds 1 tsp
  2. Chana dal(gram) 1 tsp
  3. Dry red chilli 1 broken
  4. Methi/ fenugreek seeds 1 pinch
  5. Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
  1. Assemble all ingredients. Wash and pat dry the Sundakkai/Turkey berry. Now with a mortar and pestle smash it lightly, such that it splits midway.
  2. Now in a pan heat oil, add all ingredients under tempering followed by asafoetida and fry for 30 seconds. Now add the lightly crushed Sundakkai to the tempering and fry nicely for a minute.
  3. Add the garlic cloves followed by onion, curry leaves and green chillies and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and saute  until the tomatoes turn tender.
  4. Add the tamarind paste followed by 2.5 cups water (or) add the pulp extracted from lemon sized ball of tamarind. Stir nicely and begin boiling. Add turmeric powder and cook until the Sundakkai turns tender.
  5. Now grind all the ingredients under “to grind” to a coarse mixture, then add 1/2 cup water and grind to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the Sundakkai simmering in the Tamarind pulp,stir well and allow to cook. Continue cooking until the gravy thickens and the raw small of the masala is gone.

Method

Wash and pat dry the Sundakkai/Turkey berry. Now with a mortar and pestle smash it lightly, such that it splits midway(refer picture). Now in a pan heat oil, add all ingredients under tempering followed by asafoetida and fry for 30 seconds. Now add the lightly crushed Sundakkai to the tempering and fry nicely for a minute.Now add the garlic cloves followed by onion, curry leaves and green chillies and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and saute  until the tomatoes turn tender. Add the tamarind paste followed by 2.5 cups water (or) add the pulp extracted from lemon sized ball of tamarind. Stir nicely and begin boiling. Add turmeric powder and cook until the Sundakkai turns tender. Check for doneness of Sundakkai by crushing one with a spoon/ladle. If it mashes easily the berries are cooked. Now grind all the ingredients under “to grind” to a coarse mixture, then add 1/2 cup water and grind to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the Sundakkai simmering in the Tamarind pulp,stir well and allow to cook. Continue cooking until the gravy thickens and the raw small of the masala is gone. The tasty and healthy Chettinad style Sundakkai Kuzhambu is ready.

Serving suggestions: With hot rice, with Dosa, Idli, pongal, and Curd rice.

Notes:

  1. Follow the precedure given to split open the berry midway. The kuzhambu will taste to bitter if the berries are not split.
  2. After the berries cook in the tamarind sauce, check for doneness by pressing them with a ladle or soon. If they crush easily, they are cooked.
  3. I have used Gingelly/Til oil as it adds extra flavour to the dish. Unless one is allergic to sesame oil or does not like the taste I recommend using the oil. Alternately refined oil can be used.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you. If you have a query about the recipe email us and ill respond as soon as I can.

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