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