Friday, April 5, 2019

Pachai Sundakkai Kulambu (Fresh Turkey Berry Curry)

Fresh turkey berries, also known as wild eggplant or terung pipit among Malaysians like myself, are a delightful ingredient in many dishes. Growing up with Malay neighbors, I've developed a deep love for Malay cuisine, often calling turkey berries by their Malay name, terung pipit.

These berries are not only enjoyed in raw salads, known as ulam, dipped in a spicy sauce, but also shine in cooked dishes. My first attempt at a stir-fried turkey berry dish was a success, and I'll share that recipe after introducing you to Pachai Sundakkai Kulambu (Fresh Turkey Berry Curry).

My initial try at this curry resulted in an overwhelming bitterness, rendering it inedible. This taught me a crucial lesson: to combat the bitterness, is to add sugar. If you're new to cooking with turkey berries, these tips will ensure a balanced and delicious dish.

Now, let’s dive into the Pachai Sundakkai Kulambu. With a blend of sugar, spices, store-bought sambar/lentil curry powder, and tamarind juice, this curry achieves a spectacular balance of bitter, sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors. Sounds fabulous, right? Remember to taste as you go, adjusting the flavors to your liking. Let's get cooking and create something truly memorable.

Pachai Sundakkai Kulambu (Fresh Turkey Berry Curry)
1 packet fresh sundakkai/turkey berries/terung pipit (remove berries from stems and lightly crack)
Kashmiri chili powder (as needed)
1 to 1½ tsp store-bought sambar powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 large red onion (chopped)
2 tomatoes (sliced)
Some curry leaves
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Palm sugar/Gula Melaka (as needed)
Tamarind juice (as needed)
Water (as needed)
3 to 4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp gingerly oil
Salt (to taste)

Heat the oil in a pot.
Add ginger paste, garlic paste, and chopped onion.
Sauté until the onions are softened.
Add curry leaves and stir.
Add sliced tomatoes and stir until they soften.
Add chili powder and cook until aromatic and the oil separates.
Add fenugreek seeds and stir.
Add the lightly cracked turkey berries and stir for 1 minute.
Pour in enough water to create a gravy consistency. 
Simmer the mixture.
Season with palm sugar, salt, tamarind juice, and sambar powder. 
Stir and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the gingerly oil.

Now, let's explore the Malay-style Terung Pipit Goreng (Malay-Style Turkey Berry Stir Fry). This dish boasts a unique flavor, with an added saltiness from dried shrimps. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the dried shrimps. I'm sure you'll love it just as much.

Malay-Style Terung Pipit Goreng (Malay-Style Turkey Berry Stir Fry)
1 cup turkey berries
2 tbsp dried shrimps (soaked and drained) - omit for a vegetarian version
2 red chilies (sliced)
4 shallots (sliced)
1 tsp taucu (fermented soy bean paste)
½ tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp water
Salt (to taste)
Calamansi lime juice (as needed)

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the dried shrimps until crispy. 
Remove and set aside.
In the same oil, sauté the sliced chilies and shallots until fragrant.
Add the turkey berries and stir.
Add taucu, sweet soy sauce, water, and salt. 
Stir to combine.
Cook the berries until tender.
Add the fried shrimps and calamansi lime juice. 
Stir again.
Dish out and serve.

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