Manathakkali Vathal Kulambu Recipe with step by step photos.
A finger licking restaurant style tangy and spicy kuzhambu using manathakkali vathal that is also known as edible nightshade berries.
This kulambu forms a part of the elaborate meal that is served at homes during any festivals and the regular menu in restaurants.
Manathakkali is the berry which happens to be the fruit that is black in color is picked from the the plant and is sun dried to be used as vathals.
They are also very difficult to pick as they are just the size of a black pepper corn.
This sun dried vathals can be stored for number of years to be used as and when required.
The fresh berry is tangy in taste and my child hood memories are filled with carrying a small basket and picking them from the plant along with my grandma and aunts.
I used to love sitting next to my grandma while she cooked this kulambu over her firewood stove in an earthen vessel.
The aroma of the hand ground fresh powder, the firewood smoke combined with the earthy smell of the clay vessel and the fresh sekku nallennai (cold pressed sesame oil) that she used literally took the kulambu to a whole new level that cannot be explained in words.
Hence this kulambu is so close to my heart. I love fishing out the shallots and garlic from the kulambu and eating them as a side dish with curd rice. Simply heaven and food coma rolled into one, I would say.
This kuzhambu is a life saver when you do not happen to have any veggies on hand.
Manathakkali Vathal Kulambu recipe with step by step photos:
1. Heat a pan with oil. Add Tur dal, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, coriander seeds, manathakkali vathal and roast to golden brown in color.
2. Transfer to a plate and let it cool down completely. Grind to a fine powder.
3. Soak tamarind in hot water and extract thick pulp. Keep aside.
4. Heat a pan oil. Add remaining manathakkali vathal and over low flame roast till they swell up and pop. Drain on to a plate and keep aside.
5. To the same pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add curry leaves, whole dry red chilies and roast for few seconds.
6. Add sambar onions, garlic and saute till they become translucent. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, and salt.
7. Mix well so that the powder gets well roasted and the contents of the pan become dry.
8. Add tamarind extract and let it come to a boil.
9. Add roasted manathakkali vathal and mix well. Initially they will float on top.
10. Add the ground powder, mix well and cook over low flame.
11. Finally add jaggery, switch off stove and keep the pan closed for another 5 mins.
12. Manathakkali vathal kulambu is ready. Serve with hot rice along with sutta appalam (toasted pappads) or any kootu. I served it with cabbage kootu.
Tips to remember while making manathakkali vathal kulambu:
1. Never skip the jaggery added at the end. It brings down the bitterness of the manathakkali vathal and fuses the sour tamarind and heat of the chili so well thereby taking the taste of the kulambu several notches up.
2. Always use gingelly oil to make this kulambu for an authentic taste.
3. Using a combination of pazham puli (aged dark tamarind) and new tamarind like I have done here will make the kulambu taste better.
4. Avoid red onions instead of sambar onions (shallots). Sambar onions have a naturally sweet taste which balances out the taste.
5. Avoid over cooking the kulambu than necessary. It will become rancid and taste bitter.
You will also love Chettinad Kalyana Vathal Kuzhambu which happens to be even more aromatic than this kulambu.
Manathakkali Vathal Kulambu Recipe details below:
Manathakkali Vathal Kulambu Recipe
- Manathakkali Vathal - 2 tbsp
- Sambar onions or shallots - 10
- Garlic pods - 10
- Tamarind - 1 lemon size
- Whole dry red chilies - 4
- Red chili powder - 1 tsp
- Sambar powder - 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- Curry leaves - 1 sprig
- Jaggery - 1 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Gingelly oil - 3 tbsp
To make powder:
- Tur dal - 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds - ½ tsp
- Asafetida - 2 pinch
- Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
- Manathakkali Vathal - 1 tsp
- Gingelly oil - 1 tsp
- Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Extract pulp and keep aside.
- Peel sambar onions, garlic and keep aside.
To make Powder:
- Heat 1 tsp in a pan.
- Add Tur dal, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, coriander seeds, 1 tsp manathakkali vathal and roast over low flame till they become golden brown in color.
- Transfer to a plate and let it cool down completely. Grind in a mixer jar to fine powder and keep aside.
To make Manathakkali Vathal Kulambu:
- Heat a pan with 3 tbsp gingelly oil.
- Add remaining manathakkali vathal and over low flame roast till they swell up and pop.
- Drain on to a plate and keep aside.
- Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
- Add curry leaves, whole dry red chilies and roast for few seconds.
- Add sambar onions, garlic and saute till they become translucent.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt.
- Mix well so that the powder gets well roasted and the contents of the pan become dry.
- Add tamarind extract and let it come to a boil.
- Add roasted manathakkali vathal and mix well. Initially they will float on top.
- Add the ground powder, mix well and cook for 5 to 7 mins over low flame.
- Finally add jaggery, switch off stove and keep the pan closed for another 5 mins.
- Manathakkali vathal kulambu is ready.
- Serve with hot rice along with sutta appalam (toasted pappads) or any kootu.