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Gramathu Virundu II – Sundakai Pakoda

I almost missed this weeks’ Gramathu virundu. Syam of dhinamum ennai kavani sent me the video clipping of the segment. Syam cannot thank you enof !!! Ok now to the recipe.
What IS sundakai anyway ?? – Its a berry and details from Vineela’s cuisine

“Sundakkai”s botanical name is “Solanum torvum” and “Turkey Berry” in English,”Bhankatiya, katai in “Hindi”,”Usthikaya” in Telugu and “Sundakkai” in Tamil.

Sundakai ( Turkey berry ) – Courtesy Forest & Kim Starr (USGS)

Sundried Sundakai ( Turkey berry ) – Courtesy Vineela’s Cooking

The most common way of using this berry is to soak it in buttermilk and sundrying. Its then fried in oil. Frying makes it very crispy. This makes it a very tasty compliment to curd rice. Another classic recipe is sundakai vatha kozhambu – a tangy fiery sauce with plenty of pearl onions and garlic along with the dried sundakai. The honey like consistency of this sour, hot and bitter kozhambu ( sauce ) is to die for.

Tastewise the fresh berry will be bitter in taste much like bittergourd and is said to be good for the stomach. It is claimed to remove the worms in stomach and helps in clearing stomach ulcers. Here in US we dont get fresh sundakai but dried form is available.

This recipe calls for fresh sundakai. Paravai paati says that kids will not eat fresh sundakai as they are bitter, so serving them as crispy pakoras is a good way to disguise them.

This weeks recipe and ingredient are classic reasons for registering gramathu virundu – to rediscover forgotten ingredients. If any of you has access to fresh sundakai and are trying out this recipe dont forget to take a picture – and send me a link !!

Here goes her demo


besan – 500 gms
fresh sundakai – 250 gms slightly crushed
two tbs – saunf coarsely powdered
asafoetida – a pinch
chilli powder – 1 tsp
turmeric – half tsp
ginger garlic paste – two tsp
finely chopped pearl onions – 4
coriander finely chopped – 2 tbs
curry leaves finely chopped – 2 tbs
salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients with little water to the consistency of chappathi dough – drop spoonfulls in hot oil and remove the pakoras when golden brown onto a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve with hot tea/coffee on a cold rainy day !!


November 22, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Revathi

    Never heard of Sundakai pakoda. Truly a gramathu virindu I guess. How does it taste?

    Comment by Lakshmik | November 22, 2006 | Reply

  2. even myself never heard.

    happy thanksgiving.

    Comment by Lakshmi | November 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. Hi Revathi,

    It is really healthy and interesting snack…its fact as she mentioned kids will sure enjoy sundakai in this form…

    Hatsoff to your try,though missed the episode….you were able to post somehow…

    Comment by USHA | November 22, 2006 | Reply

  4. Hi Revathi,

    Have never heard of a pakoda recipe.

    I love Sundakkai. Used to get fresh Sundakkai when i lived in honolulu. It’s called thai pea eggplants there.

    Used to make poriyal with lots of onion, green chillies and curry leaves.

    Comment by Mathy Kandasamy | November 22, 2006 | Reply

  5. Never heard Turkey berries! Looks like it’s tasty and tangy?

    Thanks for introducing a new veg,good to know.

    Have a great day:))

    Comment by Asha | November 22, 2006 | Reply

  6. Hi Revathi, nice to know the details of sundakai. we use the dried ones in Kozhumbus while tempering. Tks for sharing. Viji

    Comment by Vcuisine | November 23, 2006 | Reply

  7. hi revathi,
    Dropping by here for the first time
    nice blog you have maintained.
    btw, you have a very good name. I think it is name of a NAKSHTRA, right? anything else is the meaning of your name,? i just wonder as i like this name since i heard it for the first time when i was in school.
    keep the good work going on.

    Comment by Pooja | November 24, 2006 | Reply

  8. thanks giving ku turkey berry pakoda…super 🙂

    Comment by Syam | November 24, 2006 | Reply

  9. Sundaikai vatha kozhambu – Saliva secretes even when I hear the name of it. I have not missing anything else more than this from India. It makes me feel very very nostalgic. BTW, I live in Bloomington, IN. Is there any place I can buy sundried turkey berries(sundaikai) online?
    Please help I am very home sick!!!

    Comment by Vidhya | December 12, 2006 | Reply

  10. Sundaikai Pakoda – sundaikai vathakozhambu – I have never missed anything more since I came from India. IS there any place where I can buy sundried sunkaikai (turkey berries) online? Please help me I feel so home sick…..

    Comment by Vidhya | December 12, 2006 | Reply

  11. dear revathi madam, we found the sundaikai pakora receipy is very good. we just started finding the english word for tamil sundaikai and we found your menu. finally we found english name for sundaikai as turkeyberry and found your good menu also. thank you somuch. shankar/tony from tirunelveli tamilnadu.

    Comment by Anonymous | June 13, 2007 | Reply

  12. How or where to get the lyrics of gramathu virundhu short songs?

    Comment by a | August 10, 2007 | Reply

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