Monday, 15 February 2021

Sundakkai Pachadi / Turkey Berry Dhal Curry

Sundakkai in Tamil and in English we called it as Turkey berry. It is a popular hearty plants that thrives in variety of climates, but it grows best in sunny temperate regions. This plant is widely eaten and used in Asia and India for it has high medicinal values. By consuming Turkey berry regularly will help to combat digestive problems and bacterial infections in our gut system. Moreover, just like spinach this plant help to cure low iron deficiency that may cause fatigue, dizziness and shortage of breath. It is one of the vegetables that provides adequate iron and prevents anemia. Besides that, eating Turkey berry is one of the natural ways to lower your blood pressure and protects you from heart disease or stroke. Malaysians, Thai and Indians use fresh Turkey berry in their savory dishes while the dried Turkey berry is used in Indian spicy tangy curry. It is believed that dried ones are really effective in killing bacteria in your gut and promote healthy digestive system. The only down turn of this plant is that you may need to put some effect to cut the tiny berries into halves which sometimes may seem time consuming for busy women. It is a plant that has lots of tiny little seeds just like the eggplants and tomatoes, plus it has a bit of tartness and slight bitterness. When considering its health benefits one should never be offended by the extra preparation and unusual taste it contributes to. We quite often cook Turkey berry at home using dal and tomatoes, and it goes well with rice and chapati. We are used to the taste and texture of this berry. I thought of sharing this dish with all the viewers and I hope you would buy and cook Turkey berry. 

Sundakkai Pachadi/Turkey Berry Dhal Curry


Sundakkai/ Turkey berry - 300 g
Medium sized red onion - 1
Medium sized ripe tomatoes - 4
Toor dhal or lentils  - 1 cup
Green chilies - 3 to 4 
Fish curry powder -  1 tbsp
Turmeric powder  - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida  - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig
Coriander leaves - handful
Mustard - 1 tsp
Urad dal- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp


1. First, rinse toor dhal three times until the water is clear and allow it to soak in the clean water for half an hour. 
Toor dal or Toor lentil

2. Then, cook the drained toor dhal with 3 cups of water by adding 1/4 tsp of salt and turmeric powder. Allow the dhal to cook until it's nice and soft. when cooking dhal, you may sometimes find your water boiling really high that it may come to the surface and start over flowing from the pot, so to avoid that, you may need to add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. 

3. Dice the onion finely, slit the green chilies and cut the tomatoes into small chunks. Keep that aside.
Diced onion, tomato chunks and green chilies that are slitted

4. Remove the stems and halve the Turkey berries and drop them into a bowl with water. When you halve the berries, do inspect for any black spots or insects, if you find any discard that. 
Fresh Turkey berries with stems

5. After halving all the berries. Rinse the cut berries thoroughly. 

6. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, you need to lightly sauté the berries until the outer skin of the berries shrink slightly and changes color. This is done for 5 minutes to remove the raw smell of it. 
Lightly sauté the berries

5. Again heat a clean pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. After the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dhal and fenugreek. Fry them until mustard sputters, urad dhal and fenugreek are brown in color. You must make sure the mustard seeds really pop out, and that's when you get that nice aroma. 

From left : Mustard seeds, fenugreek, urad dhal and asafoetida (available in any Indian grocery)

6. At this stage, chuck in diced onion, green chilies, tomato chunks and curry leaves. Sauté them all until the onions are translucent and tomatoes are slightly mushy. 

7. Now, you can add all the spice powder like turmeric, fish curry powder and asafoetida. Give a quick mix and add cooked dhal and it's water. 
Sautéed berries with the spice powder 

8. Allow the gravy to slightly thicken and boil for 10 -15 minutes and don't forget to add salt as per your taste. I prefer to add salt lastly because we can retain the freshness of any vegetables that we cook, and it enhances the color too.  It will be like semi-gravy with the goodness of lentil protein. Finally, chop a handful of coriander and sprinkle to the dhal curry 5 minutes before you switch off the flame. 

Simmering dhal curry

9. This dhal curry is apt as a side dish for chapati and piping hot rice.

Do give a try and if you have any questions, drop me a comment. It would be my pleasure to help you. 

Thank you


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