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Manathakkali Uppadan

- submitted by Raji Ramakrishnan on 7th June 2014

(Gravy with Black Nightshade / Hound's berry / Wonder berry)

The botanical name of manathakkali is Solanum nigrum. It is also called Black Nightshade.

The leaves of the plant are edible. They are very effective for treating digestive disorders and stomach disorders like flatulence, colitis and peptic ulcers. It is also useful in dysentery and other stomach ailments.

The fruits or the berries of the plant are used to make curries. They are sun dried to make manathakkali vatthal. It is beneficial in treating asthma. It is also given during fever. It is useful in the treatment of dropsy. It increases the secretion of urine in the body.

The plant is also good in healing chronic skin diseases like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Manathakali Plant 

Manathakali uppadan is a South Indian dish that does not include any dal.

Total time taken:  10 minutes

Serves: 1


  • Manathakali - 1 tblsp
  • Tamarind – a small gooseberry size
  • Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Jaggery (or sugar or sugar free) -  1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste

For The Seasoning

  • Cooking oil – 2 tsps
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Coriander leaves – a few

Spice Powder:

  • Raw Rice – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilies – 1-2 (or according to taste)
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp

Manathakali Uppadan


  1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for some time and extract the pulp. I have used dry mango powder (amchur) instead for the sourness.
  2. In the meantime, dry roast the spice powder ingredients and allow to cool. Grind it to a fine powder. You can also store it and use later.
  3. Heat a kadai with a tsp of oil. Add the manathakali berries and fry on low heat till it becomes golden brown.
  4. Add the tamarind pulp or amchur powder mixed in water. Add 2-3 cups of plain water, turmeric powder, asafoetida, jaggery, salt and allow to boil.
  5. Dissolve the spice powder in half cup of water and add to the boiling gravy.
  6. The spice powder acts as a thickening agent.  Check the seasoning and the consistency.
  7. Temper with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with steaming hot white rice and some roasted papad.
  • Normally this gravy is bit watery.  If you want spicy thick gravy, add more spice powder.


  • You can make the same curry with chundakkai, pumpkin etc.

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