Every time I get back home from a trip, this is the dish i prepare. Steaming hot rice topped with a dollop of ghee with spicy tangy manathakkali vathal kozhumbu is an instant ‘pick me up’ . The bitter sweet berries and the spicy tamarind base blend in perfect harmony.
Manathakkali is a round black berry which is very commonly used in South Indian cuisine, especially in Tamilnadu. The dried berries are called ‘manathakkali vathal’. It is also called wonder berry because of its medicinal properties. It helps a great deal to alleviate stomach pains and mouth ulcers. Besides that it is known to cure liver disorders, chronic skin ailments and inflammatory conditions among other things.
Every time I get back home from a trip, this is the dish i prepare. Steaming hot rice topped with a dollop of ghee with spicy tangy manathakkali vathal kozhumbu is an instant 'pick me up' . The bitter sweet berries and the spicy tamarind base blend in perfect harmony. Manathakkali is a round black b
Soak the tamarind in water for about 5 minutes. Mix well and squeeze the tamarind pulp with your hands. Strain the tamarind extract and set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadhai.
Add mustard seeds.
Once the mustard splutters add the curry leaves, asafoetida , dry red chilli [each broken into half] and the manathakkali vathal.
Keep the heat on low. Fry for about 30 seconds .
Add the tamarind extract.
Mix in the salt and sambar powder.
Let this mixture boil until it reduces [to about half of its original quantity] and thickens.
Once the kozhumbu thickens it will start to ooze out oil and turn a lovely shade of brown.
Remove from the heat and serve with hot rice, papad and daangar pachadi [ this is the next recipe i am going to post for you].
You may use regular cooking oil but gingilly oil brings out the flavour of this dish better. I use idayam gingilly oil.
You can get manathakkali vathal in south Indian provision stores and certain supermarkets like Nilgiris stock them too. Check for them in the section which has 'papads'.
You can make vathal kozhumbu with small sambar onions too. Simply substitute these in place of the wonder berries.
Vathal kozhumbu can be refrigerated and stored upto a week. Though i always prefer to make it fresh.
A side dish that goes well with this, is 'Daangar pachadi' which is a south Indian raita made with roasted powdered 'urad dal' as a key ingredient. I will be sharing the recipe of the same in my next post.