Chundakai Vathal Kuzhambu (Turkey Berry Curry)

Vathals are sun dried vegetables. Several vegetables are capable of being preserved in vathal form. These include raw mango, cluster beans, bitter gourd, black nightshade berries (manathakali), eggplant, onion… Generally, the vegetables are half cooked in brine and sun dried. The salt acts as a preservative and these dried vegetables can be stored for months on end. These are then used to make a curry. Kerala recipes generally use these dried vegetables while Thamizhnadu has a tradition of using fresh vegetables too. This curry is spicy (not chilli hot) and many aficionados swear that one’s life on earth is not complete unless one has tasted a vathal kuzhambu!
The recipe I am writing uses turkey berry – the procedure is the same whichever dried vegetable is used.

A lemon sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Salt to taste
For The Masala
1 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 tsp red or brown rice
4-5 dried red chillies
1 tsp black pepper corns (kali mirch, kurumilagu)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
For The Seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
2 tsp vathal (I used turkey berry)
1 sprig curry leaves
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the turkey berry and roast well (do not burn)
Set aside
Extract tamarind juice and discard the pulp (soak the tamarind in hot water for about 10 minutes to extract the juice)
Transfer the tamarind juice to a medium sized vessel
Add the roasted turkey berry, salt and turmeric powder
Add 2 cups of water
Boil for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, roast the ingredients mentioned under ‘masala’
Grind to a fine powder
Add to the tamarind water and bring to boil
When the powder is well blended with the tamarind juice, turn off the flame
Garnish with curry leaves
Serve hot with red or brown rice

One Comment Add yours

  1. anish says:

    this is nostalgia

    Liked by 1 person

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