About a month ago, I had no idea that Thai Eggplants and our very own sundakkai aka Turkey Berry were one and the same.
I bought a little packet labelled ‘Thai Eggplants’ off a supermarket shelf for INR 70 or so, having no idea at the time of what exactly I would be doing with them. I got them home, only to be vehemently told by Amma that I had bought fresh sundakkai, that bitter berry used in certain South Indian dishes. I simply couldn’t believe it, so I went online and did some research. I read up a few articles and asked a few very talented chefs, and had to conclude that I had, indeed, unknowingly picked up some sundakkai. Had I got them from a local vegetable vendor, I would have paid barely INR 20 for the same quantity!
Anyhoo, I was happy to have the chance to cook with this hitherto unknown-to-me ingredient, which is believed to have loads of medicinal properties and health benefits. I ended up using them to make a Kannadiga-style gotsu in a pressure cooker, following the recipe suggested by Ms. Subha J Rao on the United By Food Facebook group. It turned out beautiful, sweet and sour, a wonderful accompaniment to dosas, idlis, rotis and rice alike.
Here’s how I made the gotsu.
Ingredients (makes about 1 cup):
- About 3/4 cup fresh sundakkai aka Turkey berry
- Salt, to taste
- A lemon-sized ball of tamarind
- A few fresh curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of oil
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- About 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon chana daal
- 1 tablespoon urad daal
- 4-5 dry red chillies, or as per taste
- Soak the tamarind in boiling water for about 10 minutes. When it cools down sufficiently, extract a thick paste out of the tamarind, adding a little water as and when necessary. Keep aside.
- Wash the sundakkai well, and pat dry with a cotton towel. Slit each berry half-way, length-wise. Keep aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the dried red chillies, chana daal, urad daal, grated coconut and methi seeds. Roast on low-medium flame till the spices begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Switch off the gas and allow to cool. When completely cool, grind the spices to a powder in a mixer. Do not add any water. Keep aside.
- In a 2- or 3-litre pressure cooker bottom, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a second.
- Now, add the slit Turkey berries, the spice mix, tamarind paste, salt to taste, turmeric powder, curry leaves, jaggery powder and about 1/2 cup water. Mix well.
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and place the whistle. Allow 4 whistles. Switch off the gas. Let the pressure come down naturally before opening the cooker.
- Serve warm or after completely cooling down, with dosa, idli, rotis or ghee rice. This is the gotsu that I served along with my mixed vegetable rava upma with green jackfruit flour.
- Store refrigerated in a clean, air-tight, dry container. This gotsu stays good for 4-5 days.
- Use a little red chilli powder if you think the gotsu is not spicy enough for you.
- If you feel the gotsu is too thick, you could add a little more water and allow it to simmer (low-medium flame) for a few minutes.
- Increase/decrease the quantity of tamarind, jaggery powder and red chillies you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
- Use only a 2- or 3-litre pressure cooker to make this gotsu.
You like? I hope you will try out this dish at home, and that you will love it as much as we did!