Arachuvitta Vathal Kuzhambu with Sundakkai and Drumsticks

If you have eaten South Indian Tamil style Arachuvitta Kuzhambu, then you will know that there’s nothing quite like the aroma and taste of freshly ground spices in a dish. Arachuvitta means freshly ground in Tamil. It is very common in households in South India and is exceedingly delicious.

Arachuvitta is a very common style of making Sambar, Kuzhambu and related dishes. The spices are roasted in a little ghee or Indian sesame oil until golden and very aromatic, and then ground to a thick, smooth paste. This is added to the spicy broth and cooked with the dish. The alternative is to reach for pre-ground sambar powder, but this does not have the same aromatic qualities and fresh flavours.

Fresh Sundakkai berries (also called turkey berries) are soaked in a salt-buttermilk mixture for couple of days and then dried. They are sauteed in ghee or oil before incorporating in dishes. Their taste is addictively salty and somewhat tart. They are easily available in Indian groceries or online.

Similar dishes include Melon and Tamarind Kuzhambu, Sundakkai Vathal Sadham, Uppadam, and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, our Sundakkai and Sundakkai Vathal dishes, and Drumstick recipes

Continue reading “Arachuvitta Vathal Kuzhambu with Sundakkai and Drumsticks”

100 Vegetables: #6 Sundakkai – Fresh and Dried Pea Eggplants (Turkey Berry)

Pea Eggplants (also called Turkey Berry and Sundakkai) are very common across S.E. Asia and India. They are used fresh in S.E. Asia and more commonly used dried (Sundakkai Vathal) in South India. They are very delicious and incredibly nutritious. Fresh pea eggplants can be found in Asia groceries and the dried ones  in Indian groceries.

I have collected half a dozen recipes or so for this uncommon (in Australia) vegetable.  I hope you enjoy them.

You can also browse these (and any new recipes) here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

Continue reading “100 Vegetables: #6 Sundakkai – Fresh and Dried Pea Eggplants (Turkey Berry)”

Sundakkai Vathal Saadham | Dried Pea Eggplant Rice | Dried Turkey Berry Rice

Sundakkai have amazing health giving properties, and it is helpful to include it in your diet regularly as a preventative measure for almost everything. We know them here as Thai Pea Eggplants. Dried Sundakkai, or Sundakkai Vathal, (soaked in yoghurt and salt then dried in the sun), retain their health giving properties. They are used in dishes such as Sundakkai Vathal Sambar, and are ground and mixed with other spices for a Sundakkai Vathal Podi (spice mix).

In this recipe, the dried berries are ground into a powder and mixed with rice along with other spices. It is delicious addition to our collection of rice dishes.

Similar recipes include Arachuvitta Vathal Kuzhambu with Sundakkai and Drumsticks, Ghee Rice with Pandanus, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Carrot Rice.

Other Sundakkai dishes include Sundakkai Vathal Sambar, and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, and all of our Sundakkai recipes. Our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore all of our Early Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Vathal Saadham | Dried Pea Eggplant Rice | Dried Turkey Berry Rice”

Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe to this one.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Arachuvitta Vathal Kuzhambu with Sundakkai and Drumsticks, Sundakkai Rice, Whole Okra with Onions and Garlic, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral”

Sundakkai Puli Kuzhambu | Turkey Berry Kuzhambu | Pea Eggplants in Spicy Gravy

Turkey Berry is also called Small Thai Eggplant, Wild Eggplant, Pea Eggplant and Sundakkai (in Tamil). It is a slightly bitter, tiny pea-sized vegetable very common in Thailand and in parts of India. You can add Turkey Berries to your list of slightly bitter foods that have so many health-giving properties – fenugreek, bitter gourd, pomelo, radicchio, Belgian endive, Escarole and other chicory greens. But don’t be afraid, they have only a slight bitter backnote and it is delightful.

The Turkey Berries first need to be picked from their stems. This is the sort of job that is similar to shelling peas or peeling broad beans – best done while watching your favourite show on TV or sitting outside in the sunshine. Then rinse them well in cold water.

This dish, Puli Kuzhambu, is a quick Kuzhambu, a gravy-style dish that is generally eaten with rice. It has such a wonderful flavour! Deep and rich. In this recipe the Turkey Berries are stir fried with spices before being added to a tamarind gravy. You will love it.

Similar dishes include Arachuvitta Vathal Kuzhambu with Sundakkai and Drumsticks, Sundakkai Rice, Okra Kuzhambu with Vathral, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Coconut Masala Kuzhambu, and Simple Seasoned Kuzhambu.

You might also enjoy Sundakkai Sambar, and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Check here to see other Turkey Berry recipes. Browse all of our Kuzhambu dishes and all of our Indian recipes. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Puli Kuzhambu | Turkey Berry Kuzhambu | Pea Eggplants in Spicy Gravy”

Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder

Sundakkai Vathal are dried pea eggplants (also called turkey berries), and they have a salty, slightly bitter taste. They are quite addictive, but are an adult taste. You have to grow into them. We adore them.

One way to use them is to grind them into a powder. Sometimes we do this without mixing them with anything else – saute them in a tiny bit of ghee until the puff a little, then grind into a powder, and sprinkle on rice and into dishes. It is amazing!

This recipe is a podi, or a South Indian spice mix, which includes lentils, pepper and chillies. You can add cumin as well. Curry leaves are crisped and ground with the other ingredients. It tastes great with hot rice mixed with ghee, and used to make Sundakkai Vathal Kuzhambu.

Other Spice Mixes include Garam Masala, Chaat Masala, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, and Sambar Powder.

Other Turkey Berry recipes include Sundakkai Kuzhambu, and Sundakkai Sambar.

Browse our other Podi recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder”

Sundakkai Sambar | Fresh Turkey Berry Sambar

Who isn’t a fan of Sundakkai, those little bursts of crunch and flavour, also known as the Pea Eggplant. Pea-sized they are, but pack a punch in the flavour department. They are also called Turkey Berry, Devil’s Fig, Prickly Nightshade, Shoo-shoo Bush, and Wild Eggplant.

Fresh Sundakkai are used in dishes such as Sambar, Kuzhambu, Poritha Kuzhambu and Kootu. They are also sun-dried, a salty, slightly bitter vathal that can be used in Rasam, Sambar and Kuzhambu. I also like to powder the dried ones, after sauteing, and use quite untraditionally as a sprinkle over non-Indian salads and other dishes.

This dish is a Sambar made with the sundakkai. You will find it delicious with wonderful flavours. The Turkey Berries first need to be picked from their stems. This is the sort of job that is similar to shelling peas or peeling broad beans – best done while watching your favourite show on TV or sitting outside in the sunshine. Then rinse them well in cold water.

Some reading for you first.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

Are you after other Sundakkai dishes? Try Sundakkai Rice, Sundakkai Kuzhambu, and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Would you like other Sambar dishes? Try Onion Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, Seasoned Sambar, another version of Seasoned Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

Browse all of our Sundakkai dishes, all of our Sambar recipes and all of our Indian recipes. Or take some relaxing time to explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Sambar | Fresh Turkey Berry Sambar”

Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant (Turkey Berry) Salad with Herbs and Tamarind Dressing

A salad that comprises all of the tastes.

Sometimes you come across something so good, it becomes your chief meal for a week. I quite love herby salads – see this Lebanese one, and of course, Buddha’s Bowl  to which I add heaps of Asian soft herbs – but in the past it was a lot of work to get Asian herbs.

However, things have changed. With a huge Asian supermarket “just down the road”, life is so much easier in the Asian department. Pomelos, green mangoes, pea eggplants, herbs of every nationality, and so much more, at my fingertips.

So on one of the first Sunny, warm days of this Spring, this salad came together. Not quite Thai, but it definitely has some overtones of Thai food. I do hope that you enjoy.

This salad is fresh and herby, crispy from the vegetables, with crunch from peanuts and shallots, sour from the pomelo, tamarind and green mango, bitter from the witlof, hot from the chilli, sweet from the dressing, salty from the soy. It has all of the flavours built into one dish.

Are you looking for more Pomelo recipes? Try Pomelo, Radish and Kohlrabi Salad, Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli, Ginger and Almond Salsa, Pomelo with Avocado, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, and Pomelo with Asian Flavours.

Or what about Green Mango? Try  Longan and Green Mango Salad, Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad, and White Peas and Green Mango Sundal.

For Pea Eggplants, try Sundakkai Sambar, an Indian dish with fresh Pea Eggplants.

Browse our Thai recipes and our Salad recipes . You might like our general Eggplant recipes, all of our Pomelo dishes. and all of our Green Mango recipes. Or simply explore our Mid Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant (Turkey Berry) Salad with Herbs and Tamarind Dressing”