Both leaves and berries are mainly used in South Indian cooking to make stir fry dish (varai) and gravy curries (vathal kulambu). Leaves are effective in the treatment of digestive disorders, mouth and stomach ulcers. The fruits or the berries of the plant is beneficial in treating asthma and also yields beneficial results in fevers. Juice of these leaves is good in healing chronic skin diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
I heard about these leaves medicinal properties, and was hoping to try them to make it as green curry for our typical Sri Lankan lunch. Surprisingly it was widely available in Indian grocery stores here. It took me awhile to research and decide on method of cooking. I got a plenty of results in which the berries were cooked in hot and sour gravies, leaves with pulses etc., I opted for simple stir fry (less cooking time) so I could preserve its nutrients and color.
1 large bunch of Manathakkali, leaves with delicate stems cleaned & roughly chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp of each cumin & mustard seeds
1 onion diced
3 tbsp shredded coconut
1 tbsp yellow split peas
3 dry red chilies roughly chopped
Heat oil in a large pan, add mustard, cummin seeds and yellow grams. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add onion, red chili, salt and shredded coconut. Sauté for 1-2 minutes till coconut turns into golden brown color.
Add roughly chopped greens, lower heat, and mix well for 2 minutes.
Turn off heat, serve with rice.
Note : You can apply the same method of cooking for any type of green leaf vegetable.