When my sister and I were young, my mother would wait upon us to see that the eggplant curries/sambar that was ladled onto our plates were eaten by us instead of being swallowed like capsules or surreptitiously thrown into the dustbin. My sister grew up hating them and till date will not touch them! I, on the other hand would try every new eggplant dish even though I did not like them. It is good that I did, for I fell in love with eggplants in many ways. My favourite is mashed eggplant and I keep trying it in various combinations – check out the conventional bharta recipe and my Italian fusion that happened when I married bharta with some pesto. The latter is an innovation I am quite proud of! Today is not about mashed eggplants – quite the opposite, actually!
The one recipe that melted my heart however is a very simple eggplant roast. Isn’t it often so? You don’t do much to a vegetable, allow it to retain its form, spice up with some delicious curry powder and there you have it – heaven on a plate!
Kathrikkai curry as it is known in Tamil is perfect with rasam-rice, dahi-rice, or kadhi-rice. It is aromatic and quite spicy, but not the kind that will burn your tongue. Best had with bland dishes to spiral the yum quotient.
Full post can be read at – Journey Kitchen. Kulsum is one of my blogger friends with an eye for detail that shows in her recipes and her photographs. I am sure you will enjoy this journey.
Dish: Kathrikkai Curry (Spicy eggplant roast)
Yield: Serves 4-5 persons as a side dish with rice
Small purple eggplants / baingan – ½ kg
Mustard seeds / rai – 1 tsp.
Bengal gram / chana dal – 1 tbsp.
White sesame seeds / safed til (optional) – 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder / Lal mirch – To taste
Turmeric powder / Haldi – ¼ tsp.
Salt – To taste
Asafoetida powder / Hing – 1/8 tsp.
Oil (I prefer sesame oil) – 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp.
Spice mix (Curry podi):
Black gram / Urad dal – 1 tbsp.
Bengal gram / Chana dal – 1 tbsp.
Coriander seeds / Saboot dhania – 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds/ methi dana – 1/8 tsp.
Asafoetida/hing – a pinch
Roast each ingredient listed under ‘spice mix’ separately. The dals should turn pink. When the coriander is roasted half way through, add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Continue roasting till the coriander becomes aromatic. Cool and grind all the roasted ingredients together to almost fine powder in a spice grinder. I say ‘almost fine’ because I prefer it a little grainy. Set aside till needed.
Wash and dry eggplants. Quarter each eggplant lengthwise. If thick then divide into five segments lengthwise. Set aside.
Heat oil till moderately hot in a wok. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add Bengal gram dal, sesame seeds (if adding), asafoetida powder and roast till the gram turns pink. Stand back as sesame seeds tend to splutter and jump around quite a bit.
Now add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and the eggplants. Toss them so the seasonings are coated well. Add half the salt and toss once more. Cover and cook for about five minutes. Stir occasionally to see that the eggplants are toasted and turn brown, taking care not to burn. Do not cover too long as the steam might turn the eggplants mushy. We do not want them mushy but perfectly cooked and to retain their shape.
When cooked add the spice mix and toss till they coat the eggplants evenly. Adjust salt if needed. At this stage, you can add a tsp. of oil if the stir fry appears too dry. A little oil makes a lot of difference but I resist myself here!
Serve with rice and dal/rasam/sambar. This tastes good with phulkas also.
If in a hurry, replace spice mix with off the shelf sambar powder or bisi bela bath powder. But, I recommend making it fresh.
Optional: Add curry leaves while seasoning.