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There is nothing like mom cooking food for you….

There is nothing else that makes you feel so loved and cared for…Every relationship has its own colours, but I believe that the relationship of a mom and daughter is the most unique….(I feel so blessed to have a daughter!)…so unique that at times you wonder why  women behave irrationally when it comes to a son!

Amma was visiting us for two weeks, and I had such a wonderful time with her cooking all of my favorite dishes ( and I peeking into the kitchen only to taste them ..hehe..well, I never said I am an ideal daugther..hehehe)

One of those days she made me a simple south-Indian tam brahm curry with Manathakkali

( I dont know what it is called in any other place, neither do I know of any other recipe/cuisine which uses sure the other South Indian states atleast would have some recipes…would be wonderful if someone could write about it )…

Bee of Jugalbandhi tells us that Manathakkali is known as black nighshade’ – solanum nigrum..check out this link which she has provided…

So sweet of you, Bee to help me with this ( actually I am lazy, you see .. i didnt even do a google ..hehehe 😉 )

And would you believe, amma actually suggested taking the photo and writing about it..(ah..what inspirations can food blogging have)!

So here’s Vatral Kuzhambu with Manathakkali from Amma, with loads of love

vatral kuzhambu

What you’ll need :

1 tbsp manathakkali

1 small cup toor dal

1 tsp rai ( mustard seeds)

1 tsp channa dal

4 red chillies

a pinch of hing

curry leaves

half a tsp peppercorns

1 tsp dhania

half a tsp methi seeds

a lemon-sized ball of tamarind ,…now dont ask me what size of lemon ?;-)


turmeric pd

3 tbsp sambar pd

There are two ways to making it – one is the ‘Actual’ way of making it ( where you’ll pound and grind and everything ) and then there is the ‘shortcut’ ( the one I always follow, and will always follow 🙂 )

The first step for both the ways is to fry the Manathakkali in a bit of ghee. Keep it aside.

Prepare tamarind paste and keep aside.

Cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai, put the mustard seeds, a bit of chana dal, red chillies, hing and kadipatha. Then you add the sambar powder. Add the manathakkali.

CAUTION : At this point of time, any unsuspecting soul in your kitchen may erupt into a fit of sneezing and eye-watering and if of a weak heart then gasping for breath etc etc…:-) and on a serious note, do keep your kids away from the kitchen while you do this ( decide the fate of your husband/wife depending on your mood 😉 )

Now add a cup of water and the tamarind paste. Add turmeric pd and salt according to taste. Add the cooked toor dal and let it boil for 5 minutes. There your vatral kuzhambu is ready.

In the Actual way, you fry the peppercorns,chana dal, dhania, methi and the red chillies ( separately) and add the pinch of hing. Then grind them to a smooth paste. Add this to the oil after the mustard seeds pop ( exclude all the separate ingredients – chana dal, red chillies and hing).

And this is my entry for Nupur’s A to Z of Indian Vegetables – Letter M and Lakshmik’s RCI – Tamil Cuisine



  1. I love this post! I have to get my hands on some of those manthakkali now 🙂 What do they taste like? Sour, maybe? Thanks so much for sharing this unusual berry with us.

    Thanks Nupur…really a pleasure to participate in the event…do try them and let me know..:-)

  2. Whatever it is called sounds and looks fabulous!!:))

    I love the look of it,if it’s from your mom,it must be good.Thanks for posting:)

    Hehehe…guess that’s true for all moms…psst…all my recipes are from my mom, actually..;P

  3. manathakkali is ‘black nighshade’ – solanum nigrum

    Thanks bee..for that bit of info :-)..I have edited my post to include it…have you made any recipe using this ?

  4. no, haven’t.

  5. Hi,
    Ur Vatral Kuzhambu looks very nice……..I remember my grand mother……she makes such nice vatral kuzhambu……..I realy want to try it out……….

    Hi Sukanya…do try it and let me know…ahhh,and my grand mother used to make such great food…the variety of rasams, she used to make…wish I could make all those !

  6. Havent tried vatral kuzhambu with manathakali ..
    Should try it sometime .. urs looks delicious
    it really has a very rustic try it and let me know how you liked it 🙂

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