Ennai kathirikai is a very popular dish in Tamilnadu. It is prepared in different ways in different regions but the the basics are the same. It’s a melt in your mouth baby brinjals stuffed with the freshly ground masala and cooked in tangy tamarind gravy. It pairs well with plain rice or also paired with rotis. There are variety of masalas that are are used for the stuffing – Paste made of dry masalas, stuffing made of onion and garlic, without onion and garlic etc..
For me the first memory of this dish comes from my very early days at my grandmoms and every time I think of Ennai kathirikai I always remember that time. The summer holidays at paati’s house enjoying the variety meals and snacks.
Here is my version of No onion No Garlic Ennai kathirikai made with freshly ground masalas. You van sauté onion and garlic while frying the stuffed eggplant and add the masala gravy to the mix.
What if you don’t have ingredients to make the fresh masala Powder?
- If you are short on time or don’t have all the raw ingredients to make fresh masala. here is a trick to get the same taste with less work. Mix 2 tsp of sambar masala and 3 Tbs of Peanut -Idli powder and make the stuffing masala. it tastes equally good and can be done in jiffy.
- Also if you do not want to over cook the eggplant, remove it in a separate plate after shallow frying/cooking and then add it to the cooked the gravy and simmer it for 5-7 mins in the end.
Can I make it without the specific lentils and whole masalas mentioned in the masala recipe?
YES, You can also just grind regular red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder ( just 1/4 of the rest of the powders) with coconut, sesame, tomato, and grind it to a think paste to make the stuffing.
Ennai Kathirikai kuzhambu | Stuffed Eggplant Gravy
- Small Baby brinjals – 8 -10 nos
- Tamarind paste – 2 tbs or as needed based on the tartness
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste
- Channa dal – 1 tbs this can be skipped if you don't have it.
- Coriander seeds – 2 tbs
- Cumin seeds jeera – 1 tsp
- Methi seeds – 1/8 tsp
- Pepper corns – 10 to 15 nos
- Tomato – 1/2
- Red chillis – 5-6 nos
- Sesame seeds – 2 tbs
- Coconut grated -1 tbs
- Salt as needed for the masala
- Hing – 1/2 tsp
- Sesame oil – 5 tbs
- Curry leaves
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Mustard seeds
- First prepare the masala for stuffing.
- Dry roast all the ingredients under masala list to golden brown one at a time
- Once done, grind it to a smooth paste and set it aside.
- Now slit the Brinjals from the bottom into four. Cut up to half way and fully as we want the brinjal to hold its shape.
- Now in a pan ( I used my Soapstone pot) heat the sesame oil and add the mustard seeds, turmeric powder, hing and curry leaves.
- Once the mustard seeds splatter add in the stuffed brinjals. Now let it fry in the oil till the brinjal/eggplant cooks 3/4th .
- Next add in the tamarind paste and the rest of the masala paste to the pan with the eggplant. Add water to get the gravy consistency as needed
- Let this all cook together till the oil separates and float on the top. When it does turn off the heat. and serve it with hot rice.
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