Ennai Kathirikai Curry
Ennai Kathirikai or curried baby eggplants is a delicious dish from Tamil Nadu region of India. Baby eggplants or aubergines are carefully slit and stuffed with fresh ground spice paste, shallow fried and then cooked in a hot and spicy tamarind sauce. Best served with steamed rice or dosas. This dish will be featured on the special menu of Saffron Valley’s South Indian Food Festival from Sept 9th- 22nd.
Baby Eggplants -6
Oil- 3 tbsps plus enough for shallow frying
Medium sized onion- 1, chopped finely
Tomato- 1, diced
Chilli Powder- 2 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Tamarind extract- 2 cups from a lemon sized tamarind
Mustard- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 10
Roast & Grind to paste:
Channa dal- 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Urad dal- 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli- 2
Grated Coconut- 2 tbsp
Cumin- 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds-1/2 tsp
Roast all the ingredients listed under ‘Roast & Grind’ in a teaspoon of oil and grind to a paste with enough water.
Slit the eggplant into quarters keeping the stem intact as shown in the picture.
Stuff the blended spice paste in to each slit of the Eggplants and sauté in a shallow pan with oil. Let cook on all sides giving the eggplant a charred look.
Heat a saucepan and add 3 tbsps of oil. When hot add mustard, allow it to crackle then add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and chopped onions. This is the seasoning or tadka for the dish.
Fry till onions turn golden brown, then add the tomatoes and cook till it form a pulp.
Add the tamarind extract, Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric and salt. Mix well and let it cook for at least five minutes, taking care that the bottom does not burn.
Add the pan fried stuffed eggplants to the curry. Cook till the eggplants are completely cooked, they should feel soft to the touch and oil glistens on top of the curry. By this time the dish is a semi thick consistency.
Serve with steamed rice.