Vathal kulambu, vaTral kulambu, vathakkulambu, vatha kuzhambu
Vathak kulambu or vatral kulambu is a spicy curry prepared in South India. Vatral means a some sun dried veggie or evaporated stew. In hotels they serve this curry over steamed rice , after the sambar rice. Though it is very common, only a few people do it in a graceful manner. From my childhood the chef inside me was searching for those wonderful people and luckily i found her in Missouri,USA.Yes , she is my friend Archana's mom 'Nalini aunty' and she taught me to do this vatral Kulambu.She is a great dietician and excellent home maker.I admire her a lot.I came across her vathak kulambu while we went to the lake of Ozark and I became addicted to it.She came to my house and taught me how to do this mouth watering vathak kulambu.I tried my best to present it in her way.She taught me with eggplant and drumstick.But here I am replacing the vegetables with Manathakkali vatral. Vathal/ vatral means a sundried vegetable.
The Botanical name of this berry is 'Solanum nigrum. Manathakkali is called 'Black NightShade' in English. In Hindi its called 'Makoy' or 'Manathakkali'. In Telugu its called 'Kamanchi Chettu'.
Manathakkali vatral - 2 tbsp
sesame oil- 2 tbsp
Tamarind - 1 small lemon size
chilli powder- 1 tsp
coriander powder- 2 tsp
sambar powder- 1 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida- a pinch
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek seed- 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - 1 brig
chopped Red onion or shallot - 3 tbsp.
Garlic - 5 pearls
salt - to taste
jaggery - 1 tsp
Extract juice from tamarind.
Heat oil in a pan , crackle mustard seeds and add cumin seeds , fenugreek / methi seeds, curry leaves and kulambu vathal .Take care not to char the items.
Immediately add asafoetida powder ,chopped red onion, curry leaves , garlic pearls and fry till the onion becomes golden brown.
Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder , sambar powder and saute for 10 seconds.
Now introduce the tamarind extract and salt.
Let it boil and becomes a thick gravy.
Add a small piece of jaggery (10 gms) and switch off flame.
Makes 250 ml of Vatha kulambu.
It can be served as a side dish for rice, chapathi and curd rice.
Goes fine with hot rice and pappad.
Manathakkali vathal is capable of curing ulcers.
So if used as a medicinal food , add freshly ground black pepper instead of chilli powder.
This can be preserved even outside refrigerator for 3 - 4 days(If oil is used liberally and handled with hygiene).
So this can be used for picnics and tour food packages.
This kulambu can be prepared and saved in fridge for a month.