The shaak I make with turkey berries is based on a Jharkhand-style curry. It features a delightful combination of slightly bitter turkey berries, hearty potatoes, and a blend of aromatic spices, creating a flavorful everyday shaak that’s both easy to make and a nutritional powerhouse.
About this Recipe
I was given a turkey berry plant a while back and told it is an important plant in India. I checked with my parents and she, like me, had never heard of it before. Through research, I learned Turkey berries, known as Brihati marathi marang in Sanskrit, Bhankatiya in Hindi, and Sundakkai in Tamil, hold a special place in Indian kitchens, as it is very nutritious.
The Turkey Berry Shaak is a simple yet flavorful dish, reminiscent of the popular bharta dishes with a slightly bitter profile, similar to eggplant. The infusion of garam masala, turmeric, and other spices complements the earthiness of the potatoes and the distinct taste of turkey berries.
If you have access to turkey berries, the simplicity of this shaak makes for an easy way to add something completely different to your dinners.
It is important to ensure that the turkey berries are not overly ripe. They are best when they maintain a light green color. The dish’s slightly bitter undertones are carefully balanced with the garam masala and other spices, resulting in a well-rounded and flavorful shaak.
I cook this using a technique my grandmother taught me, where I use a second pan as a lid over my main pan. I then add a bit of water. This technique allows the food to cook without losing much water so I do not have to add water as it cooks. It’s the same technique I use for parval batata nu shaak.
Dhana Jeeru (coriander-cumin powder)
Red Chili Powder
The spice profile is a delightful blend of dhana jeeru, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, black pepper, and red chili powder. Each spice contributes to the rich flavor and aromatic experience of the dish. If you don’t have dhana jeeru, you can easily make your own by blending cumin and coriander.
Serving Turkey Berry
This shaak refrigerates well for up to 4 days. It can be reheated on the stovetop or microwave with little change in flavor or texture. You may have to add a splash of water if it starts to dry out from reheating.
Turkey Berry and Potato Curry
- 250 g Turkey Berries
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small onion sliced (1/4 cup)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp dhana jeeru
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 green chili
- 2 medium potatoes chopped into 2” cubes
- ½ tsp garam masala
- Cut turkey berries into halves.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let sizzle for a few seconds. Add onions. Cook until the onions soften.
- Add tomatoes and cook until they are mashable.
- Add turmeric, black pepper, red chili powder, and green chilies. Cook about 30 seconds, until they are nice and fragrant.
- Add potatoes, turkey berries, and salt. Stir to coat the vegetables with the spices. After about 5 minutes, cover with a pan and add water to the pan, or add some water directly to the vegetables and cover with a normal lid. Cook until the potatoes are nice and soft, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Remove the lid, add the garam masala. Stir and remove from heat.