Friday, February 27, 2015

Manathakkaali Kai Kara Kuzhambu | Manithakkali Puli Kuzhambu | Night Shade Fresh Berries Tamarind Curry

Manathakkaali Kai Kara Kuzhambu | Manithakkali Puli Kuzhambu | Night Shade Fresh Berries Tamarind Curry is a healthy tamarind based, spicy curry made with  fresh fruits of  Black Night Shade plant. Its botanical name is Solanum Nigrum and in Tamil, it is called Manathakkali or Manithakkali. The health benefits of this manathakkali are well known to everyone. It is very good in treating any ulcer especially mouth ulcer, good for diabetics, effective in de-worming, treating cold & cough, etc.

Whenever I buy this Manathakkali keerai, I usually select a bunch with lot of these fresh berries, sincerely pluck them out  which would be about 2-3  tablespoons at the maximum, keep it safe in the fridge and use while making kara kuzhambu along with other veggies. That is the love for these berries, I have. But now is the season to get these berries alone in large quantities in Chennai and I buy a cup to make this yummy kara kuzhambu with these berries alone.  The tangy & spicy gravy with the little bitterness of the berries tastes great with the hot steamed rice and roasted papad.
Many make this kara kuzhambu with dried manathakkali (manathakkali vatral) which I don’t like because of its highest salt content. But those who can’t get these fresh berries can make this gravy with the dried ones.


Here we go for the recipe.
Ingredients:
  • Fresh Manathakkali   1 cup.
  • Shallots  – 5 Nos.
  • Green chilli ( slit into 2) – 1 No.
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Corinader powder – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Tamarind – gooseberry size
  • Salt to taste

To Roast & grind:
  • Shallots – 5 Nos
  • Garlic – 3 pods
  • Tomato – 1 No.
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Jeera | cumin seeds – ½ tsp
  • Coconut gratings – 2 tbsp

For seasoning:
  • Gingelly Oil | cooking oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Mustard – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds | vendhayam – ¼ tsp
  • Curry leaves – few

Method:
  1. Clean manathakkali from any  leaves & sticks and wash very well in running water 3 times  and keep aside.
  2. Soak tamarind in ½ cup water and squeeze the juice.
  3. In a tsp of oil, add the items given “To roast & grind” except coconut gratings  and fry for 2 minutes & allow it to cool. Grind this with coconut gratings into a fine paste by adding little water.
  4. In a kadai, heat oil and season with the items given “For seasoning”.
  5. Then add onion, green chilli & manathakkali and sauté for 5 minutes in simmer.
  6. Add all masala  powders and sauté till the raw smell of masala goes off.
  7. Add the tamarind juice & salt and bring it to boil.
  8. Finally add the ground masala paste and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Switch off  & serve.

Healthy,  flavourful  Manathakkali Kai kara Kuzhambu is ready to serve. It tastes good with hot steamed rice & appalam. We enjoyed this curry with Dhal Spinach!

Note:
  • Try to use shallots & gingelly oil which add unique taste & flavour to the gravy.
  • Be sure to sauté the berries in oil (step 5) which will reduce the bitterness of the berries a bit.
  • You can add a piece of jaggery at the end.
  • You can skip coconut gratings if you don’t like to add.
  • While using dried berries, make sure to wash very well and keep an eye while adding salt to the gravy.

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