Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kathirikkai Curry (Eggplant / Baingan Curry)

I think I have said this before – kathirikkai (eggplant) is one of my favorite vegetables.  I think it is more of a favorite because we did not make it too often.  While growing up, both my brothers did not like it, and now, my kids don’t like it, and my husband barely tolerates it.  So my mom did not make it often, and I don’t either.


Most people don’t like eggplant, more because of the texture than because of the taste (at least that is my theory).  When I make these I home, I cook them in such a way that they don’t lose their shape and get mushy.  This is the only way my husband will eat it.  But he does like baingan bartha though – go figure!

My kathirikkai buddy is my friend Hema, who loves it as much as I do, and I think of her every time I make these.  She and I are the only ones who would look forward to lunch when we know that there is eggplant involved.  Miss you Hema – need to get together soon!

Here is what you need:

(serves a family of 4, with two who don’t eat this, and one who eats it reluctantly :) )

  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. channa dal
  • 1 tsp. urad dal
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 red chilies
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. channa dal
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 long japanese eggplants, washed and diced (after you cut off the stem)
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. chili powder  

Here is how I made it:

  1. Dry roast the first six ingredients (coriander seeds, channa dal, urad dal, black pepper, cumin seeds and red chilies).
  2. Cool and grind this to a coarse powder.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and channa dal
  4. When the mustard seeds sputter add the chopped onions.
  5. Saute for a few minutes till the onions turn translucent.
  6. Add the eggplant, salt, turmeric, and chili powder.  Mix well.
  7. Cook covered for five minutes.
  8. Remove cover and cook on low for 10 more minutes, tossing the pan a couple of times.  I try not to use a spatula so that I don’t mush up the eggplant.
  9. Add the ground masala and give it a toss to coat all the eggplant.
  10. Fry for a few more minutes so that the eggplant absorbs all the flavors.

Serve with rice, sambar, rasam, vathal kuzhambu, or with rotis.

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