vatha kulambu recipe, vatha kuzhambu recipe, manathakkali vathal kulambu recipe
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4.8 from 5 votes

vatha kulambu recipe

black nightshade tamarind curry recipe - south indian recipe of tasty and tongue-tickling kuzhambu made with sun dried black nightshade berries. these berries are also known as manathakkali in tamil language. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: main course
Cuisine: south indian, tamil nadu
Servings: 4
Author: Dassana Amit


for soaking tamarind

  • 1 lemon sized tamarind ball or 1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind
  • 1 cup hot water

for making vatha kulambu

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil)
  • 3 tablespoons black nightshade (manathakkali vathal)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 to 2 dry red chilies, broken and seeds removed
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons sambar powder
  • 2 cups water
  • salt as required
  • 1 teaspoon rice flour – optional
  • ½ teaspoon jaggery – optional


soaking tamarind

  • in a bowl take 1 lemon sized tamarind ball or 1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind. preferably use aged and dark tamarind.
  • add 1 cup hot water. cover and soak tamarind for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • squeeze the tamarind and extract the tamarind pulp in the water. keep tamarind pulp aside.

making vatha kuzhambu

  • heat 3 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil) in a pan. keep flame to a low and add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds.
  • let the mustard seeds crackle.
  • keep the flame to a low and then add ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 1 to 2 dry red chilies, 8 to 10 curry leaves and 1 pinch asafoetida (hing).
  • fry and stir till the red chilies change color.
  • keeping the flame to a low, now add 3 tablespoons manathakkali vathal (sun dried black nightshade).
  • stirring continuously, fry for some seconds till the color of manathakkali changes. make sure you do not burn them.
  • now switch off the flame and add 1.5 to 2 tablespoons sambar powder.
  • fry for 1 minute switching off the flame. you can even fry at a low flame. but do make sure that the sambar powder does not get burnt.
  • add the tamarind pulp and 2 cups water. give a stir.
  • add salt as per taste. mix well and let this vatha kuzhambu come to a boil on medium-low flame for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • continue to simmer till the curry or gravy thickens slightly. you will see some oil specks on the top.
  • then add 1 teaspoon rice flour. adding rice flour is optional and can be skipped.
  • add ½ teaspoon jaggery. adding jaggery is also optional.
  • mix well and continue to simmer vatha kulambu for 4 to 5 minutes more. after you switch off the flame you should clearly see a layer of oil after allowing the kuzhambu to rest for 1 to 2 minutes. check the taste and add more salt if required.
  • serve vatha kuzhambu with steamed rice.