Chicken manathakali

Chicken manathakali

Chicken Manathakali!!  Weird right? 😀 . These kinds of weird combos keep occurring in my mind every now and then. Though I was kind of skeptic, I went ahead and tried, and am so glad that I did.

For the uninitiated, manathakali is black nightshade leaves, which are one of the prized greens in our Tamil culture and are easily available in South India.

While some people discard it thinking it is a weed, quite a few are misled to think it is harmful. But these greens have been part of our diet since time immemorial. They are very effective in healing ulcers. More about their goodness here.

Coming back to the recipe…I had a small quantity of chicken that had to be cooked that day. A handful of black nightshade greens picked from the garden too was in the refrigerator. So I thought, why not?

After all, I already had the methi malai chicken recipe on my site. In their bitterness, these greens are comparable with methi. So I knew I had a chance.

But I wanted to make it in the South Indian style, with coconut instead of yogurt or cream, yet retain the color of the methi malai chicken.

So I came up with this Chicken manathakali recipe. I avoided red chilly powder and tomatoes and used green chillies and pepper for the heat. Also, I have used amchur powder for the tanginess.

The curry tasted yum with chapatis and we were left longing for more. There wasn’t a tinge of bitterness, characteristic of these greens.

If you are a non-vegetarian, this is one good way of consuming these greens. Do give it a try and I am sure your family will love it as much as we did.

O’er to the recipe….

Chicken manathakali
Chicken manathakali is a very delicious curry made by cooking black nightshade leaves or manathakali keerai with chicken.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Marination time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Accompaniment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Tamil
Keyword: Chicken with keerai, How to use manathakali keerai
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hema Magesh

For marination

  • 200 g chicken fillets
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp salt(or as needed)
  • a pinch of turmeric powder

For grinding

  • ½ cup grated coconut(around 60g)
  • 1 tsp roasted gram dal(pottukadai)
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • 5 small cloves garlic
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 2 cashews
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds

Rest of the ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium-sized big onion
  • a good handful of manathakali keerai(black nightshade leaves)
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp amchur powder
  • salt as needed
  • water as needed
  • Wash the chicken, chop into small cubes, and marinate it for 15 minutes with the items given under "For marination". Pick the leaves from the keerai, wash and keep it ready.
    chicken manathakali prep step 1
  • Heat up 2 tbsp oil in a pan. First add the cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon, followed by chopped onion and curry leaves.
    chicken manathakali prep step 2
  • When the onion starts to slightly brown up, roughly chop the greens and add it to the onion. Saute well for a few minutes till the leaves shrink in size. Next, add the chicken and saute it till the meat changes color.
    chicken manathakali prepn step 3
  • Add the coriander, cumin, and amchur powders and give it a good mix. Then add a cup of water and salt as needed and let it come to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, grind the ingredients given under "For grinding" and add the ground mix to the curry. Add more water if needed.
    chicken manathakali prep step 5
  • Once it is completely cooked add ghee and turn off the stove. Serve with chapatis or any flatbreads

Hema’s P.S

    • I have just added 1 green chilly. You can add more if you are looking for a spicy curry.
    • Chop the greens just before adding them to the pan. In this way, you can reduce the bitterness considerably.
    • You can add poppy seeds too instead of gram dal or use both.

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