Manathakkali Kuzhambu (Wonder Berry in Tangy Sauce)

by Kamala on April 2, 2010

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Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_1 Manathakkali keerai or Mani Thakkali keerai is a green leafy vegetable used more in Tamil Nadu for its medicinal property. Some of my friend’s call this also as Melagu Thakkali. Like tomato, the plant has more tiny seeds in them.

Manathakkali is called wonder berry or solanum nigrum. I feel wonder berry suits well as this is the best medicine used for mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers. In south India this is used more as compared to north. In Hindi it is called us Makoi but not commonly available.Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_2

The leaves, small berries and fruit are all used in cooking. I remember we used to pluck these small ripe wonder berries from the plant and eat as they are sweet in taste. (you can see those tiny fruits with the green berries in the picture below). The leaves are cooked with dal and coconut. Raw green berries are used in curries. In Tamil Nadu villages, most of the houses have this plant in their kitchen garden. This is consumed regularly like other greens. Manathakkali is also dried and sold as Manathakkali Vathal in market.

We like Kara Kuzhambu with these green berries cooked in tamarind gravy.

Ingredients

  • Manathakkali green berries – 1 cup
  • Pearl onions, peeled – 15 to 20 no
  • Garlic peeled – 2 cloves
  • Tamarind – lemon size (adjust as per taste) IMG_4067
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tea spoon
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tea spoon
  • Coriander powder – 2 tea spoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Jaggery or sugar – little
  • For seasoning
    • Mustard – ½ tea spoon
    • Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tea spoon
    • Cumin seeds – ½ tea spoon
    • Red chilli – 1 no
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Asafetida – pinch
    • Sesame oil /any oil – 1 table spoon

Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_4

Method

  • Chop onion and garlic; soak tamarind in water for 15 minutes and extract juice and keep; clean and wash green berries and keep; heat a pan with oil and do the seasoning; add garlic, red chilli, curry leaves and fry for few seconds.

Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_5 Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_6

  • Then add onion and fry for few minutes; add manathakkali berries and fry for 3 to 5 minutes.

Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_7 Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_8

  • Now add all dry spices, salt, jaggery and tamarind water (around 2 cups).

Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_9 Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_10

  • Bring to boil and cook in low flame till it is little thick and the berries are just done.

Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_11 Manathakkali_Kuzhambu_12

  • Now serve this with hot steamed rice.

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Tips

  • Adding little jaggery or sugar helps to balance tamarind and chilli taste.
  • In Tamil Nadu this curry is mostly cooked with sesame oil.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sushma Mallya April 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Never used these in my cooking but would like to try this too….looks delicious and happy easter ..

Priya April 3, 2010 at 1:25 am

I prepared one this sort of sauce with manathakkali, its turned out bitter and none at home had it..this gravy sounds prefect and will try next time..

uma October 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

Good recipe! with so many manathakkali plants, didn’t know what to do with berries – finished with vathals – thanks will surely try this!

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