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Monday, August 15, 2011

Tangy Manathakkali Kuzhambu

Manathakkali is called "Black Nightshade" in English. It  has a great lot of medicinal value. Both its leaf and its fruit in the raw and dried form is used in cooking. It is very effective in curing stomach ulcers. We get it very easily in Tamil Nadu. 

IIndia, the berries are casually grown and eaten; but not cultivated for commercial use. The berries are referred to as "fragrant tomato," or மணத்தக்காளி - manathakkaali in Tamil, 'ganike gida' in Kannada, Kamanchi in Sanskrit and Telugu, and makoi in Hindi. Although not very popular across much of its growing region, the fruit and dish are common in Northern Tamil Nadu, Southern Andhra and Southern Karnataka. In North India, the boiled extracts of leaves and berries are also used to alleviate the patient's discomfort in liver-related ailments, including jaundice(Source - Wikipedia)

Manathakali has a distinct flavour. Since we don't get its fresh seeds here in Gujarat,  I keep a stock of it in the dried form i.e. in the vathal form. This Manathakkali Kuzhambu has a tangy taste with the goodness of the seed.


Onions (peeled and chopped) - 1/2 cup
Manathakali Vathal - 1 handfull (fried in little oil)
Medium Tomato - 2 (optional)
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized (soaked in water)
Sambar Powder - 2 to 3 heaped tb.sp
Salt - to taste
Curry Leaves - few (optional)
Black Mustard Seeds - 1 t.sp
Black Gram Dal (Urad Dal) - 1 t.sp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 t.sp
Asafoetida - 1/2 t.sp
Oil - 3 to 4 tb.sp


Heat oil in a Kadai. Add Mustard seeds to the hot oil and let it splutter. Then add Black Gram Dal, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Add curry leaves, after about 5 seconds add the onions and saute till it becomes translucent. Then add the tomatoes and saute till it gets cooked. Add the tamarind extract, sambar powder, salt, fried Manathakkali vathal and let it boil till the raw smell is gone. 

If you are using Manathakkali vathal then have a check on the salt you are adding since it already contains salt.

If you don't have sambar powder then use 1to 1 1/2  t.sp red chilli powder and 3 to 4 t.sp of coriander powder.

Serve hot with hot and steaming Rice.

I have served it here with Rice and Crispy Raw Banana (Ennai Vazhakkai)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crispy Raw Bananas (Ennai Vazhakkai)

It is raining cats and dogs here in Vadodara for the last 3 to 4 days. Very nice climate for the otherwise hot Vadodara. The city has become comparatively very cool and is very pleasant. So thought of making something hot, spicy and crispy for lunch today to compliment this pleasing weather. Decided to make Hot and Spicy Vathal Kuzhambu, Crispy Raw Bananas ( we call it Ennai Vazhakkai) and Steaming Hot Rice.

Thinking of Raw Bananas, I remember an incident which happened in the early days of our marriage. My HD is a very picky eater in those days. He used to like only Rasam, Potatoes and Podi otherwise nothing else. We and some of our other friends had been invited for dinner by one of  our friends.  And they had prepared Chettinad Special dishes for us. Some of the dishes were Idiyyappam, Kosmalli, Rice, Crispy Raw Bananas etc. And these are those dishes which he used to hate in those days. Out of compulsion he had to eat there and was praising them for nice virundhu (feast). With great difficulty I had compressed my laughter in their house. Back at home, I burst into great laughter and was teasing him. At last I had to prepare a special dinner for him.

So coming back to the topic, so today I am presenting here

Crispy Raw Bananas (Ennai Vazhakkai)


Raw Bananas - 4 to 5
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tb.sp
Turmeric Powder - 2 t.sp
Red Chilli  - 1 t.sp / Sambhar Powder - 1 to 1 1/2 tb.sp
Salt to taste


Peel the Bananas and cut them in thin circles. Put them in a bowl, add all the ingredients except oil and marinate for about half an hour to one hour. Heat a kadai (I prefer Non-stick, since the amount of oil used is considerably less). Pour some oil. Once the oil is hot put the marinated Bananas in it and keep turning them for some time, keeping the gas on medium flame. Do it carefully so that you do not break the bananas. After sometime you can leave it open on a sim flame till it turns crispy turning it in between after 5 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes to half an hour.

I transfer them to a preheated oven once they are about half done. This also reduces the oil used to an extent. So this was simple and easy isn't it.

Next Comes Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu.