Saturday, July 22, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #42: Manathakkali (Black NightShade) Chutney

Manthakkali or Makoy or Milaguthakkali or chukkitti keerai was found growing in everybody's gardens in TamilNadu when I was growing up. We loved to picak and eat the small black berries that the plant produced and were advised to eat the green leaves to cure ulcer in the mouth and it was pretty effective. The leaves had a slightly bitter taste and was made into poriyal (stir fry) sauted with onions, red chillies and grated coconut or they could be made into chutney. The berries when green can be used in curries and they are dried to make vatthals and the Vathal Kuzhambu's are very popular.

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I googled to find out the English name - Black Nightshade and the Botanical name is Solanium Nigrum. Of the websites that I found the ones from India had information about the good effects of Manathakkali
but most of information from the sites out of North America scared me, they had Black Nightshade as a poisonous weed. I am thinking but.... we are used to eating this regularly and certainly know of it healing properties... Is this a case of it being a poisonous Weed in the West and a herb in the East or they maybe many varieties of this and a few are poisonous or maybe I am mistaken about the English and botanical name. So please make sure you are eating the right kind.

Bottom line is I am talking about Manathakkali and am not sure of the English or Botanical name. This would be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging Event brainchild of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz.

If you are interested in this herb/green here are some sites.
1. Is black nightshade edible? question in garden forum
2.Article By Arthur Lee Jackson Writer/Plant Expert.
3. Amma's Ask Agent

I brought these seeds along when I came and I grow them in the garden every summer and absolutely love them and my daughters take great delight in eating the berries.


Manathakkali Chutney
The chutney is easy to prepare with a very few ingredients.

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Ingredients
1. 2 1/2 cups of Manathakkali greens (pick just the leaves and wash thoroughly)
2. 1/2 red onion diced roughly
3. 3 red chillies halved and seeds removed
4. 2 tbsp of Urad dal
5. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1/4 tsp corriander seeds
7. 2 tbsp of grated coconut
8. a little tamarind
9. 1 tsp of oil
10. Salt to taste

Method:
1. In a pan heat the oil and fry the urad dal, when it turns brown add the cumin, corriander and red chillies fry a little bit and keep them aside.
2. Add the onion and when they start to turn brown, add the greens and toss them till they wilt.
3. Add the tamarind and coconut and mix them
4. Add the salt.

In a blender blend all the ingredients to a paste. Tastes great with rice. The slight sour taste of the leaves along with the bitter taste of the tamarind is not to be missed.

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PS: Manathakkali greens can be substituted with Methi leaves, which is easy to find in Asian and Indian grocery stores in the US.

20 comments:

  1. Manathakkali is very new to me! Thanks for posting this!

    Paz

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  2. Hi Indosun,
    Even I got packs of vathal from India, but I totally forgot abt the greens being used for cooking. Do you have the plant in your garden now...if so..how did you get the seeds..??

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  3. Hi ISN,
    My mom will do dal with that.
    WHERE YOU GOT THESE SEEDS.can we put the dried one - salty seeds
    I will post kozhambu.
    chutney looks yummy.Thanks for sharing the links and recipe.
    Vineela

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  4. Priya, Vineela: I do have the plants in my garden, the seeds,got them from India. I am not sure if the seeds from the vathal will work, give it a try.

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  5. Great topic for WHB. I also don't know much about this. Sounds very interesting.

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  6. Never heard about this veggie before. Great write up! Thanks for the info.

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  7. Hi,
    I cook this keerai with dal or I make poriyal like drumstick leaves.
    Chtney is new to me. I will try it soon.

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  8. Hmm..interesting. Never heard of this plant.

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  9. this is quite new to me...i have never seen it too...thanx to all these blogging we get to know so many things....

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  10. i live in CA. I was really suprised to see this plant growing in my backyard. My kids love to eat them. I hope it doesnt die in winter

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  11. I too googled about manathakkali and found the following link, which has translation in other Indian languages as well as the english name, It's botanical name etc. here is the link

    http://forest.ap.nic.in/

    The website takes a long time to download.

    click the 'Forest Flora of Andhra Pradesh' in the right side menu. then click the 'Flora by Reddy'.

    search in tamil language for manathakkali. You will get all the details. The trade or popular name is sun-berry.

    Thanks for the Recipe with Manathakkali. let me try it.

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  12. DM, I do have some manathakkali seeds and how to raise them, like do we soak them prior to sowing or can be directly sown in a pot! please help, i love this keerai a lot! Thanks in advance!
    --Anna

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  13. Anna,

    the seeds can be sowed directly in the pot and water them. No need to soak them before sowing.

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  14. This is a very common keerai (spinach) in Tamil Nadu. Most people love it. The whole plant is edible, viz, the berries, leaves, stalk. The dried berries makes a delicious gravy (kozambu).
    Even some Indian stores in US sells the dried berries. If it is not old, sow a bunch of them and if not all some will sprout. That is how we started one plant. Note The plant will not survive in cold.
    The green leaf apart from regular delicacy is used for Mouth sores also.
    I am not sure of its English Name or its botanical name.

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  15. This is a very common keerai (spinach) in Tamil Nadu. Most people love it. The whole plant is edible, viz, the berries, leaves, stalk. The dried berries makes a delicious gravy (kozambu).
    Even some Indian stores in US sells the dried berries. If it is not old, sow a bunch of them and if not all some will sprout. That is how we started one plant. Note The plant will not survive in cold.
    The green leaf apart from regular delicacy is used for Mouth sores also.
    I am not sure of its English Name or its botanical name.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great write-up and useful comments. Thanks a lot!!

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  17. Thanks...... and also wanna inform u all it's a great muligei and it good for meditation.....

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  18. I am interested in growing manathakkali plant. (I live in the Bay area.) Can you tell me where I can get/order seeds? Any info or help would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

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  19. Looks like the English name is Sunberry or Wonderberry, and the scientific name is "Solanum Burbankii". More info can be found here.

    This blog on "Vegetable of Interest" by Craig Lindquist is sure to interest you.

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  20. This plant could be Solanum melanocerasum. It is also called sun-berry, wonderberry or huckleberry. but there are varities within these common names and so not all plants called by this name is manathakali. We too used to enjoy this plants black berry and I used to eat the leaves raw as it is good for mouth ulcers.

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