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Manathakkali vathal


Manathakkali Vatral Kuzhambu

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 2-4 people
  • Spice Level: Medium

Authenticity Slice

Traditionally, this dish is made by freshly grinding the spice powder known as Vatha Kuzhambu Podi. Today, it’s readily available at your local grocer.

Trivia Tadka

Vathal Kuzhambu is a traditional dish made by Brahmins  in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The name indicates the addition of Vathal, which means sun-dried vegetables, in the gravy.  The gravy is simmered for a long time until the tamarind juice thickens, which gives it a distinct flavour.


  • Manathakkali vathal (Makoy) (3-4 tblsp)
  • Tamarind (imli) (gooseberry-sized portion)
  • Sambhar powder (1 tbsp)
  • Salt (To taste)
  • Label (1 tbsp)
  • Sesame oil (til) (1 tsp)
  • Mustard seeds (sarson) (1/4 tsp)
  • Fenugreek seeds (methi) (2 tsp)
  • Split Bengal gram (chana dal) (1/2 tsp)
  • Split Bengal gram (chana dal) (2)
  • Dry red chillies (sabut lal mirch) (a few)


  • Soak the imli in 1 cup of water for about 5 minutes. Extract its pulp. Add another cup of water and extract as much tamarind juice as possible.
  • Discard the remaining vein of the tamarind. Keep this tamarind juice ready.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadhai and add sarson. When it crackles, add the methi and chana dal.
  • Once the dal turns golden brown, add hing, sabot lal mirch and kadi patta.
  • Add the Manathakkali Vathal and fry for about half a minute. Add the sambhar powder and fry for another half a minute.
  • Now, add the extracted tamarind juice and salt. Cook on a medium flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the flame to low, and cook for another 15 minutes. By now, the gravy would have thickened and the oil would have separated. The gravy will thicken as it cools, so maintain the gravy consistency accordingly.
  • Finally, add the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Switch off the stove.
  • Serve with rice.

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