Amma's Special


Paal sundaikai (or) pachai sundaikai kuzhambu

I am baaack….This seems to be a long break. Somehow things were settled at work front and I have come back with full spirits to blog here. Even though I was not blogging these days I was visiting all my favorite blogs and leaving comments…Not to miss that I cooked and experimented a lot and have come back with a lots of drafts in hand now.

When reading through Anita’s post, when she wanted some suggestions to use up the array of fresh veggie loot she made during her Chennai visit, I listed a few and to my surprise I found there were no posts on all of them in my blog. To start with I am posting this family favorite “Paal sundaikai kulambu” here.

Paal sundaikai or “Turkey Berry” fruit is not much known as its dried version. But these berries were so tasty (actually bitter in raw state) and can be cooked either into a sambar or puli kuzhambu. This one is Amma’s favorite and naturally became the family’s favorite. When I had visitors from a Southern village, he so kindly brought a bag full of fresh berries.

Amma immediately made them into this wonderful kuzhambu. With a simple coconut thuvayal and a dash of ghee over piping hot rice this kuzhambu is heaven in a plate.

Image courtesy :

These berries have high medicinal value. Its great for stomach ulcers. When the dried version is fried in ghee and mixed with rice and had regularly will increase heamo globin count in the blood.

Without much ado I shall jump into the recipe.

Ingredients :

Paal Sundaikai / Pachai Sundaikai (Fresh) – 1 Cup

Onion chopped – 1 Cup (If you have shallots please use that. It adds great flavor)

Tomato chopped – 1/4 cup

Tamarind (1 small lime sized) – soaked in 3 cups of water

Sambar powder – 1 teaspoon

Salt as per taste

Turmeric – 2 pinches

For tempering :

Mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Peanut oil – 2 Table spoon

Asafoetida – 2 pinches

Curry leaves – 1 stalk

How to make it ?

Wash the sundaikai well and drain. Crush them roughly (just let the berries burst open) with a mortar and pestle. Inturn put the berries in a ziplock bag and crush them slightly using a rolling pin. In both ways some seeds might pop out. Don’t forget to collect them all. Crush the tamarind soaked in water to extract the pulp in the water. When squeezed well filter it in a colander and keep aside.

In a thick bottomed kadai heat the peanut oil. When hot add the mustard seeds along with the asafoetida. When the seeds splutter add the curry leaves and add the chopped onions and saute for a minute. When they start turning pink add the crushed sundaikai with the seeds. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle a pinch of salt. over the tomatoes. This helps them wilt faster. When the tomatoes turn mushy add the sambar powder and turmeric powder and saute for 10 secs. Now add the tamarind extracted water and mix well. Add salt at this stage. Taste and adjust. Cover the vessel and let it boil covered until oil separates in medium low flame.

Serve with piping hot steamed rice along with this thuvayal. The sundaikai never tastes bitter in this kuzhambu and add a crunchy note to every morsel when mixed with rice. The more the kuzhambu is watery the more I like it ;)