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Manathakkali Vathal kuzhambu Recipe

  • Author: Kannamma - Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5-6 servings 1x


Recipe for manathakkali vatha kuzhambu. Spicy Tamil style vathal kuzhambu / kara kuzhambu recipe made without coconut. A popular side dish for lunch in Tamilnadu.



For frying manathakkali vathal

  • 3 tablespoon peanut oil or gingely oil (sesame oil)
  • ¼ cup dried manathakkali vathal

For the masala paste for manathakkali vatha kuzhambu

  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil or gingely oil (sesame oil)
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 56 fenugreek seeds
  • 67 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corn
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves

Other ingredients – manathakkali vatha kuzhambu

  • Gooseberry size tamarind
  • 3 tablespoon peanut oil or gingely oil (sesame oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (use less if you want a less spicy curry)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery
  • 2 teaspoon kuzhambu milagai thool
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • ½ teaspoon salt (see notes)


  1. Take a pan and add in three tablespoon of oil. Add in the manathakkali and saute on a low flame for a minute. The berries will puff up and start to change colour. Remove from heat and set aside to a bowl along with the oil left.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add in all the ingredients for the masala paste. Saute on a very low flame for 3-4 minutes. Sauteing on a low flame is important as you do not want to burn the lentils. Sauteing on a low flame nicely roasts and browns the ingredients.
  3. Grind the roasted ingredients along with half a cup of water to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  4. Soak a gooseberry size tamarind (about two inch strip) in a cup of water for 20 minutes. Squeeze and extract the pulp. Discard the seeds and the pith. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan (Be generous with oil) and add in the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add in the garlic. Saute for a minute.
  6. Add in the chopped tomatoes and the salt saute for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add in the masala powders and the jaggery. Saute the masalas for a minute.
  8. Add in the tamarind pulp.
  9. Add in the ground masala paste. Wash the mixie with half a cup of water and add back to the pan. Add in a cup of water too. Let it come to a boil.
  10. Add in the manathakkali along with the oil and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes on a low flame.
  11. The kuzhambu is ready after it has simmered for 20 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with rice. The kuzhambu tastes best the next day!
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Tamilnadu