fried eggplant curry

Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal is a favourite vegetable for many vegetarians. This dish, ennai kathirikai kulambu, is one of our favourite ways to prepare it. This recipe is from Chennai.

This spicy eggplant curry 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 30 minutes. Not taking this step will give you bitter eggplant. Secondly, you must do this recipe in the sequence discussed. It is important that the eggplant has time to drain after frying, or it will be 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.

This dish goes well with plain rice or roti, or is a great side dish to any of the other southern Indian dishes in this book.

the recipe

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to serve


  • Place eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with half the salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Put the fenugreek seeds in a small pan on medium heat and toat for a few minutes, tossing frequently. When aromatic, remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool, grind to a fine powder and set aside.
  • 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 medium heat, and, once hot, add the eggplant in batches, and cook until lightly golden brown. Remove from pan and place onto some paper towels and allow to drain. Set aside.
  • Drain any excess oil from the pan until about one tablespoon remains. Return to medium heat.
  • Add the onions to the oil, sprinkle with the remaining salt, and fry for ten minutes, or until softened and turning golden brown.
  • Add the curry leaves, green chilli and garlic and fry for two minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Add the ground fenugreek seeds, and mix well.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes, or until tomatoes become soft.
  • When the tomatoes have softened, add chilli powder, tamarind water and bring to a simmer.
  • 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.

to serve

  • Sprinkle with the coriander leaves and stir gently to mix well, then serve.


  • The smaller the eggplants the better the taste for this recipe.

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Serving: 150 g | Calories: 142 kcal | Carbohydrates: 20 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 7 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 688 mg | Potassium: 413 mg | Fiber: 6 g | Sugar: 12 g | Vitamin A: 725 IU | Vitamin C: 55 mg | Calcium: 42 mg | Iron: 1 mg
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