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