I once posted about Black Night Shade Berries/ Manathakkali (click to view post). When I saw it in the nearby shop, I bought 200gm of those to prepare the dry version. Vatral is usually prepared during summers while the sun is very hot. When summer commences, mom starts preparing vadagam and vatral for one whole year. They store well. When fried they become a great accompaniment for curd rice. We also prepare gravies / vatha kulambu (click to view recipe) using variety of vatrals.
This manathakkali vatral is slightly bitter and can take many avatars. I have also posted the vatha kulambu in other my blog. It is very easy to prepare this vatral. You need a place where you get sunshine from morning till evening. I dried the vatral in my terrace.
These are the fresh berries grown in my home. But for vatral, I bought it from the shop nearby.
You don't have to remove the stalk for the vatral. Clean, wash the 200gm of berries and soak them in 2cups of buttermilk and 1/2tsp of salt overnight.
The next morning, remove the berries from the buttermilk and spread them on a plate. Reserve the buttermilk for further use.
Dry it in sun for 8hours. The berries will change colour. Soak these berries in the buttermilk overnight. Next day, remove them carefully and dry it again the whole day. Soak them again in the remaining buttermilk and dry it the next day also. At this stage you can discard the remaining buttermilk. At the end of the day, cover the berries with a cotton cloth and leave it overnight. Continue drying the berries in sun until completely dry.
The berries will be dark brown in colour when dry. Store in airtight jar and use it according to your wish.