Apart from the usual sambhar and rasam of the south Indian households, we have some treasured curry recipes like kara kozhambu, thengarachakozhambu, vattal kozhambu, more kozhambu etc. Significantly kozhambu is the gravy that we use to mix into the fluffy cooked rice and have along with stirfry vegetables and some indulgent crisps. These kozhambu has the thickness of a pourable sauce and hence used to bind the small morsels of cooked rice together. As for the flavour component, these kozhambu varieties have a souring agent, vegetables, some ground spice and a thickening agent that is either dairy-based or nut-based.
Out of the kozhambu varieties, thengarachakozhambu is a must-try if you love that coconut feeling.
What constitutes thengaracahakozhambu?
Since this curry is one developed around the regions with abundant coconuts and farms growing local vegetables, it is these “naati” vegetables that you will see in the curry. Popularly, okra, amaranth leaves, the stalks of the amaranth, berries, squashes, winter melons or gourds are used. Thenga aracha kozhambu tastes best with steamed rice, bettergourd salad, rice fryums and knol khol poriyal.
The souring agent in this curry is the tamarind. The ripe sub dried tamarind soaked in water and the pulp squeezed out makes the tangy feel perfect and enhances the effect of the spicy chillies.
The main flavour imparting thickener for this gravy is the grated coconut. Ground with the choice of minimal spices, the paste helps to bring the runny gravy together and turn it creamy. It also helps to mask the peculiar flavour of the Turkey berries.
Turkey berry aka sundakkai.
The raw Turkey berries are literally like a weed in rural south India. Belonging to the eggplant family, these plants produce pea-sized green berries used in South Indian and Thai cooking. The berries are of particular interest in the plant-based diet as they are rich in iron. Probably this is why inspire of their slightly peculiar taste they still are popular.
Turkey berry is my choice for the A to Z recipe challenge this month. Alternately called pea eggplant or prickly nightshade, the perfectly spherical turkey berry are one I seek out the moment I reach my parental home. I get to use the sundried ones more often and the green ones are a luxury for me. The current recipe is from my mother’s kitchen. Hope you like it.
Do let us know how you use the Turkeyberries as the recipe world is endless and we would like to learn. Leave us your notes in comments or dm us on our Instagram page.
Stay safe and see you again soon.
For the vegetable base
- 1/2 cup turkey berry raw
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
for the tamarind base
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 lime-sized tamarind
for the coconut masala
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 4-6 medium dry red chillies
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1 tsp Raw rice
- 1/2 cup drinking water
for the tempering
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
- Soak the tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Squish and extract the pulp and filter it out for any debris.
- Wash and remove the stalk of the turkey berries.
- Slit the berries individually, this helps the tamarind and the spices to flavour the turkey berries.
- Add the turkey berry, tamarind pulp, add the turmeric powder and salt and bring the mix to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a separate pan add the coconut oil, roast the fenugreek seeds and the red chillies.
- Once the red chillies are crisp, add the raw rice and roast it for a minute, remove from heat and add to the grated coconut.
- Grind this into a fine paste and set aside
- Add the paste to the cooking turkey berries and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In another pan heat, the oil add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the curry leaves and roast it.
- Add this tempering to the curry and mix it well.