Friday, August 27, 2010

manathakali vathakuzhambu (black nightshade in a spicy sauce)

Manathakali vetha ozhambu

"Vathal" in Tamil refers to vegetables soaked in a yoghurt-spice mixture and sundried for several days until its dehydrated completely. This "vathal" is used to make vathakuzhambu along with tamarind and sambar powder. During the last manathakali season, I prepared some manathakali vathal. So there I am posting proudly my recipe with some home made manathakali!*.

home made manathakkali roast IMG_0087

My daughters like manathakali very much. Now my son-in-law also joined this "like" group. Manathakali can be roasted with 1 tsp of ghee and mixed with steamed rice. Besides being extremely tasty, the manathakali, also aids digestion.

(Tamil to English: manathakali - black nightshade, vathakuzhambu - spicy sauce)


Home made manathakali -  ½ cup (50gm measuring cup)
Tamarind -  lemon size 20 gm soak in water and extract the juice
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Sesame oil -  8 tsp
Red chili - 2, split in half
Mustard seeds ¼ tsp, fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp, turmeric powder ¼ tsp,
jaggery as per taste, asafoetida, curry leaves, and salt to taste


1. Soak the tamarind in water (approx. 2 to 3 glasses) for half an hour, then extract the juice by gentle pressing.
2. Heat sesame oil in a thick bottom vessel, add the manathakali to it. Allow it to be roasted until golden brown, then season with mustard seeds.
3. Add fenugreek, chili, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric powder. Saute for one min.
4. Now add tamarind juice, sambar powder, salt and jaggery. Stir occasstionally and cook on medium flame until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off.
5. The final sauce should be semifluid.
6. Serve with hot rice or curd rice (recipe follows soon).


1.Vathakuzhambu can be prepared with vegetables, dry herbs, kuzhambu vadams and vathal.
2. Vegetables like pearl onion**, drum stick, lady's finger/okra, pumpkin or mixed vegetables can also be added
3. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week.

4. Manathakali vathakuzhambu plus keerai masiyal is the best combination with steaming white rice!

* manathakali "vathal" is prepared during the season, it can be stored for many years :).

**pearl onion - chinna vengayam


  1. Look delicious dear...feel to have it right now..!

  2. Just the combination i had yesterday...vengaya vaththakuzhambu and keerai masiyal...pure bliss. The only sad part is that my tamarind is a bit aged, it lends a wonderful tangy taste but fails in colour appeal:) I am particularly saying this just because I love the colour of the kuzhambu in your picture above.

  3. iam coming thru facebook..Your blog gives a nice feel. neat pictures.

    neenga romba azhaga irukeenga:)

  4. Wow wat a beautiful click, very tempting kuzhambu..

  5. Hi
    Jay, Lata, Lavi & Priya
    Thank you all, i always see that the spices used are properly cured and sun-dried which give a natural appeal and good flavour!
    Jayanthi Sekar

  6. Dear Jayz,
    Loved your authentic 'Madras' recipes, expecially the manathakali vathakozhambu one. It looks temptingly yummy!