Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal is a favourite vegetable for many vegetarians. This dish, kathrikkai kulambu, is one of our favourite ways to prepare it.
This spicy eggplant recipe requires you to fry the eggplant, make a masala, then add the fried eggplant to it. The special flavour in this dish is due to the fenugreek seeds. As written below, it isn’t too hot, but you can always add more green chilli. It can be made quite hot without losing the taste of the eggplant.
There are just a few important things to do when making this dish. Firstly, you must salt the eggplant and leave it for the 30 minutes. Not taking this step can make the eggplant bitter. Secondly, you must do this recipe in the sequence discussed. It is important that the eggplant has time to drain after frying, or it can become oily. The third thing is to ensure you do not overcook the eggplant in the frying stage. Overcooking it will make it break down and become mushy.
If you like eggplant, I have recipes in this book for masala stuffed eggplant and smoky eggplant curry, or baingan bharta.
- 400 g eggplant - cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour - (besan)
- 100 ml vegetable oil - for frying
- 1 brown onion - finely chopped
- 8 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies - sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds - toasted and ground
- 1 tomato - chopped
- 1½ tsp red chilli powder
- 150 ml tamarind water
- ¼ tsp jaggery
- 1 tsp ginger - grated
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- Place eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, gently squeeze the eggplant to drain the water, then pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly dust the eggplant with the besan, shaking off any excess.
- Heat the oil, over a medium flame, and, once hot, add the eggplant in batches, and cook until lightly golden brown. Set aside on paper towel and allow to drain.
- Drain any excess oi from the pan until about one tablespoon remains. Return to medium heat.
- Add the onions to the oil, and fry for about five minutes, or until softened and turning golden brown.
- Add curry leaves, green chilli and garlic to a saucepan. Fry for two minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add ground fenugreek seeds, and mix well.
- Add the tomatoes, cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes, or until tomatoes become soft.
- When tomatoes have softened, add chilli powder, ½ tsp salt, tamarind water and bring to boil.
- Add the fried eggplant and sugar and cook on low heat for two minutes.
- Add the grated ginger, mix well, and remove from the heat. Cover the pan with lid for about five minutes so that the ginger cooks.
- Sprinkle with coriander leaves and stir gently to mix well, then serve.
- The smaller the eggplants the better the taste.