Manathakkali kai Vatral Kuzhambu – Sundried sun-berries in a spicy tamarind soup


Today is Varalakshmi Vratham and it is usually celebrated with a bit of pomp and show. This year however, owing to a death in the family, the celebrations were muted. Instead of the usual idli, kozhukattai that is made I opted for the simple pongal and made vatral kuzhambu to go with it. Since I had not taken the day off it made sense for me to pick something easy.

Stuff you will need:

Tamarind – A ball the size of a big lemon – soaked and pulp extracted
Manathakkali vatral (sundried sun berries) – a handful
Gingelly oil – 2 tbsps
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad dhal – 2 tsp
Fenugreek (Methi seeds) – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Salt – 1.5 tsp
Sambar powder – 2 tsp
Red chillies – 1 broken into two
Rice flour – 1 tsp mixed with 100 ml of water
Jaggery – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs chopped.

How to make it?

In a thick bottomed vessel set on medium high heat, pour the gingelly oil. When hot, add mustard, urad dhal, fenugreek, asafoetida, red chillies, manathakkali vatral. When mustard pops, add sambar powder and saute till raw smell of sambar powder is gone. Add tamarind pulp and boil. Add salt and jaggery and boil. Add the rice flour – water paste till the kuzhambu reduces to a thick soupy liquid. Now add curry leaves and turn heat off.

Serve hot with rice and ghee with appalam on the side.

Serves four.

Special notes:

Manathakkali can be used along with Sundakkai (Turkey berry) vatral. Shallots may be peeled and added when the manathakkai is added and sauteed along with it before adding tamarind pulp.


Author. Parent.

12 thoughts on “Manathakkali kai Vatral Kuzhambu – Sundried sun-berries in a spicy tamarind soup

  1. Happy Independence day. And manathakkali vatha kuzhambhu looks yummy and delicious. My mom used to mke this often. I love this kuzhambhu. thanks for sharing .

  2. @Sukanya: Thank you. Hope you will let me know after you try it.
    @Shriya: Most welcome. It is amazing how such old recipes can make you nostalgic right?
    @Sangeeth: Thank you! Home is where the heart is 🙂
    @Jayashree: Funny enough I used to not like it growing up. Now I love it!
    @Sushma: Thank you!

  3. You must not go by looks. This is one of my favorites. I make it every other week or so. My kids love it. I am American with an Indian husband. This is one of th first dishes I make for other non-Indians. There is never any left.

  4. Could you please let me know where online I can buy Manattakkali Berries? Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    @Susan: You should be able to find it in most Indian grocery stores. Look for a packet labeled Vatral or Manathakkali.

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