Spicy, tangy and super flavorful Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu recipe with step-wise pictures. With hot rice and ghee, this manathakkali kuzhambu makes for the best side dish!
Most of the times as a food blogger, your to-do lists are all about recipes to try, dishes to cook and trying to decode ingredients so that you can replicate it in your own kitchen. I have a long list of to-cook recipes and when I am bored, I look at that list to decide on a recipe and strike out a line item. What surprises me is that there are a lot of simple and taken-for-granted recipes too, in my to-cook list. Recipes that were once a part of your life, recipes that are an everyday fare to you but mean a lot to others and recipes of sheer comfort foods. This Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu is one such recipe for me. It is really simple and such an every day fare in Tamil households, but it took me so long to try or even click pictures.
Manathakkali – known as Black Nightshade is a treasure trove of a lot of nutrients. Manathakkali (literally translated to Fragrant Tomatoes) is the fruit-like berries of the plant. It has a lot of medical value and the best one being cure for mouth & stomach ulcers. It also has high iron content and works wonders for cold, fever or diarrhea. I simply love Manathakkali Keerai – the greens from the plant, that can be made into a simple kootu or paruppu with moong dal. We had a huge plant in our home and it used to be featured in my mom’s cooking every week without fail.
Now coming to this recipe of Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu, Vathal means sun-dried. When the berries of Black Nightshade are salted and dried under the hot sun, they become easy to store for longer durations. Using the Manathakkali Vathal, this Kuzhambu (a spicy tangy gravy) is made and it is really simple. When there are no veggies in your fridge, this kuzhambu comes in handy. It goes well with white rice and ghee but also, as a side dish for idli-dosa (if you are like me) or with curd rice (if you are like my husband). Having only tasted this and never tried it myself, I referred to this recipe and modified it to suit our taste-buds. Check out other Kuzhambu recipes!
How to make Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu –
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu –
1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Add all ingredients under ‘Vathal Kuzhambu Spice Powder’.
2. Roast on low flame until they are golden in color. Remove from heat and cool down completely. Grind into a smooth powder, set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat 3 tbsp sesame oil/gingelly oil. Add manathakkali vathal and fry them for a minute until they puff up. Remove them from the oil and set aside.
4. In the remaining oil, add mustard seeds, whole dried red chillies, asafoetida. As they splutter, add curry leaves.
5. Next add garlic and shallots. Fry until the shallots are translucent.
6. Now add sambar powder, turmeric powder and cook for a minute.
7. If using red chilli powder, add it and cook along for a minute.
8. Add the prepared spice powder and cook it for a minute too.
9. As the mixture begins to bubble, add 1 cup of water and let it simmer.
10. Next, add tamarind puree. If you are extracted tamarind puree fresh, then skip the water in above step.
11. As the gravy begins to bubble, add the fried manathakkali vathal.
12. Cook this covered for 7-10 mins on low flame. The oil separates from the gravy and the manathakkali vathal floats on top. Add jaggery now and mix it well.
13. After boiling for a couple of more minutes, remove from heat.
14. Serve hot with rice, ghee and a side of potato fry!
- You can also make this recipe without using onions and garlic.
- Adjust spices as per preference.
- If you using store-bought manathakkali vathal, filter out any stones or small dried mud pieces as they are easily prevalent.
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