Friday, May 11, 2018

Pachai Sundaikkai Porial - Fresh Turkey Berry Dry Curry

Turkey Berry
Botanical Name: Solanum Torvum 
Health Benefits:
Good for digestion.
Eliminates worms from the system.
Alleviates colds and chest infections.
Purifies blood, is diabetes friendly, et cetera, et cetera!
We are overwhelmed by the flood of information provided by the internet regarding the health benefits of the bitter berry called Sundaikkai. My grandmother packed the 'information deluge' in one simple sentence when she uttered, 'Sundaikkai is good for health'! That was that! No questions were asked when the berry was cooked and served as kozhambus or porials! We dutifully gobbled up the 'health food' with slight reluctance though! Grandmother used certain tricks to tone down the bitterness of the berries while cooking, which gave no chance for any complaints from any quarter! You will have to just cultivate the taste and savour it with all the health benefits in mind.Then you are sure to enjoy it.
Here is a simple recipe to prepare Pachai Sundaikkai Porial. I am also sharing the trick taught by grandmother to make the Porial delicious and less bitter.


Fresh Sunndaikkai / Turkey Berry - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 marble size ball 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Powdered jaggery - 2 tbsps 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal/ Urad dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies (broken) - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Split pigeon peas/Tur dal - 4 tbsp
Pepper corns - 6
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chilly - 1
Salt - 1 pinch
1. Remove the fresh pea size Sundaikkais from stalk and wash them thoroughly.

2. Cover the Sundaikkais with water.
3. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and tamarind which will disintegrate while cooking. 

4. Cook till the Sundaikkais are almost done.
5. Add salt and cook till the water evaporates.
6. Drain if there is excess water.
7. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
8. Add the Blackgram dal and roast till it becomes golden in colour.
9. Add broken red chillies and roast till they become crisp.
10. Saute the curry leaves with the seasoning and add the cooked Sundaikkais.

10. Stir in the roasted and powdered ingredients and blend well.(Instead you may use two tablespoons of Paruppu Podi or Chutney Podi). 

11. Switch off flame when the Sundaikkai Porial emanates a pleasant aroma.

Enjoy the Pachai Sundaikkai Porial mixed with steaming hot rice topped with a spoon of ghee. You may also relish it as a side dish with your meal. 
NOTE Grandmother's trick: 
Cooking Sundaikkais with tamarind juice and jaggery tones down its bitterness considerably.The addition of the spicy Paruppu podi used to camouflage the left over bitterness also enhances the aroma and taste of the Porial. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sutta Vazhaikkai Podi - Grilled Raw Banana Spicy Crumble

Whenever my Mami and I get together our conversation veers in all directions and finally culminates in our one and only indulgence : cooking! Vazhaikkai Podi is a spicy curry which has to be crumbly as the name itself suggests. I usually cut the Raw Banana/ Vazhaikkai along with the peel and then boil it till done. Then I cool it, peel it, crumble it and then mix it with the spice powder to make this delicious dish. If the vegetable is slightly overcooked the Vazhaikkai Podi (Raw Banana Crumble) is sure to turn into Vazhaikkai Masial (Raw Banana Mash)! Mami taught me a traditional method to cook Raw  Banana/Vazhaikkai wherein it would remain dry and crumbly even after cooking. Here is the traditional method to make a delicious and crumbly Vazhaikkai Podi.

Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai - 1 
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Black gram dal/Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/Chana dal - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Broken red chillies - 3
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - 1 small marble size ball
1. Wash and wipe the Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai and place it on live flame.

2. Hold the stalk and turn it now and then so that it is uniformly grilled.

3. Allow the skin to char on all sides.
4. The sharp edge of a knife can be easily inserted into the Banana/Vazhaikkai when it is done.

5. Allow the grilled Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai to cool down completely.
6. Scrape off the charred peel using a knife.

7. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the tamarind till crisp and keep aside.
8. Add the dals, red chillies and mustard seeds into the same oil and roast till the dals turn golden in coliour.
9. Add asfoetida and switch off fame.
10. Cool the roasted ingredients and grind them coarsely adding the fried tamarind and salt.

11. Cut the grilled and peeled Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai into four pieces and add to the mixer.
12. Just give it one swish so that it crumbles and blends with the spice. 
One extra swish will make the Podi mushy. Safest method is to crumble the grilled Raw banana/ sutta Vazhaikkai using your hand.

 The powdered spice can be gently worked into the crumbled vegetable.

Enjoy the Sutta Vazhaikkai Podi mixed with plain rice or relish it as a side dish with your meal.