IMG_5997Solanum nigrum / small fruited Black nightshade is called as  Manathakkali Keerai, Sukkatti Keerai (in village we use this name) in Tamil, Kaakke soppu in Kannada. This plant comes under berry family as they produce a small berry like fruit, black in color. In most of the countries some parts of the plants are called as toxic to livestock and  humans and hence considered as weed among the crops. But in south India mainly in Tamilnadu we consider this leafy vegetable as one of the richest source of iron and in village side, our recipe book is incomplete without manathakkali keerai in cooking :-)

My days back :-)  This grows as weed during the days we cultivated turmeric in our field. When me and my sis were small kids ; aged 5 and 3 :-) our parents used to collect the fruits from all the plant, keep in the leaf of turmeric plant and make us to sit under the shades of some tree and they will be into their daily chores of farming works along with the workers. I sit folding my legs, keep the leaf on my lap and we pick one by one share and eat the fruit slowly and our time passes in the field. Really missing those days.

Just to give my son I grow this plant in my pot at times, where he sits in the balcony and enjoys plucking every ripen fruit by his own and enjoys eating. A small token of happiness………Now its recipe time, scroll down.


Ingredients :

Fruit of Solanum nigrum / Manathakkali kaai- 1 cup

Tamarind – lemon size soaked in water

Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp

Mustard – 1/2 tsp

Fenugreek seeds / Vendhayam – 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida / Hing –  1 pinch

Shallots – 5

Dry chillies – 1 or 2

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Crystal salt – 1.5 tsp

Gingelly oil – 2 tbsp

To fry and grind :

Gram dal / Channa dal / kadalai paruppu  – 1 tsp

Whole Urad dal / Black urad dal –  1/2 tsp

Dhania/ coriander seeds – 1 tbsp

Dhania powder – 1.5 tbsp

Shallots / Pearl onion – 1 cup

Dry red chilli -2-3

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Grated coconut – 2 tbsp

Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp

Jeera / Cumin seeds –  1/2 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp


Method of Preparation :

  1. Fry the items under “To grind” using 1 tbsp of oil
  2. Let it cool and grind
  3. Heat oil in thick kadai, add mustard and let it splutter. Add fenugreek seed along with asafoetida
  4. Fry diced shallots, curry leaves and chillies
  5. Now add washed fruit of Solanum nigrum/manathakkali and fry
  6. Fry until soft, add tamarind juice + Turmeric powder
  7. Add water (about 1.5 cups) and Let it boil until raw smell goes off.
  8. Add ground paste, salt and boil for 10 minutes.

Step-wise Preparation of Manathakkali Kuzhambu :


  1. Wash the fruit of Solanum nigrum and drain the water completely


2. Fry the ingredients listed under ” To grind”IMG_5932

3. Allow it to cool and grindIMG_5934

4. Heat oil, add mustard, fenugreek seeds and asafoetidaIMG_5963

5. Fry diced shallots, curry leaves and chilliesIMG_5966

6. Now add washed fruit of Solanum nigrum/manathakkali IMG_5967

7. Fry well in low flameIMG_5968

8. Cook until softIMG_5969

9. Add tamarind pulp juiceIMG_5970

10. Add 1/2 cup water and turmeric powderIMG_5972

11. Let it boil until raw smell of tamarind goes offIMG_5973

12. Add the ground pasteIMG_5974

13. Add adequate waterIMG_5976

14. Let it be free flowingIMG_5981

15. Boil until oil ooze outIMG_5985

17. Serve with hot riceIMG_5990

My Tips :

  • You can also use dried form of this Manathakkali fruit to prepare in this method.
  • But make sure you fry the dried fruit separately and set aside then start the same step wise process.
  • You can also add a small piece of ginger and garlic too while grinding
  • Adjust water and salt as per your requirement.
  • Fry the fresh form of fruit in low flame as they tend to burn





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