Monday, 19 April 2010
Rajender likes this kuzhambu very much. Whenever he sees sundakkai in Indian items selling shop he immediately asks me whether we can take this small peas :). I have told him numerous times that it is called sundakkai in tamil but he could never catch that word. But today when I am searching for english names for sundakkai I came to know that these small wonders are also called as pea aubergines :). Another name for it is turkey berry and its scientific nomenclature is Solanum torvum. If you want to know more about sundakkai please follow this link. Definitely wikipeida has lots of interesting information about this vegetable. I think there are sub-varieties within them because my mom used to say that one variety of sundakkai tastes very bitter and the other one was totally bitterless and they call that bitterless variety as 'kari sundakkai'. My dad loved the vathal made out of this sundakkai. For making vathal they soak these sunadakkai in salted buttermilk and dry them under sun and then store them. The dried ones can be deep fried and they make wonderful combination for rasam sadham, but they do have a very bitter taste. I introduced this vegetable to Rajender only after marriage He immediately became fond of it. You can find this vegetable in chinese stores too and the variety we get here is totally bitterless.
Onions- 1 no
Tomato- 1 no
Garlic- 6 pods
Green chillies- 3 nos
Curry leaves- some 20 leaflets
Coconut scrappings- 1 tbspn (optional, fresh or even dried one will do)
Fenugreek, jeera and mustard seeds- 1 tspn (for tempering)
Coriander powder- 2 tbspns
Red chilli powder- 2 tspns (adjust according to your taste)
Asafoetida- a pinch
Turmeric- a pinch
Tamarind- size of a small lemon (soak it and extract the juice)
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste
Cut the pea aubergines into two. Soak them in water until use beause when exposed to air they acquire a brown colour very fast. If you are using the bitter variety crush the individual berries and wash them well in water to remove their small seeds. This greatly reduces the bitterness. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated, add fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown and emit a nice aroma add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the halved sundakkai, cut onions, curry leaves, garlic pods, longitudinally slit green chillies, turmeric and asafoetida. Add salt to taste and saute until the onions turn translucent. Now add the cut tomatoes and saute until they become soft. Now add the coriander and chilli powder. Mix well all the ingredients and add the diluted tamarind juice. Boil the mixture well. Taste it and adjust salt and spiciness. Now add a tbspn of coconut scrappings and simmer for 5-10 min more until the oil seperates and floats on the top.
Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Take care to adjust the salt and hotness (spiciness) according to the sourness of the tamarind. Take care not to burn any items when frying. The gravy should be closer to thick consistency. Do not make it watery. Try it, you will love it. Happy cooking!!!