Stuffed Eggplant (Ennai Kathirikkai)

Srilatha Sides, South Indian Leave a Comment


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Stuffed Eggplant (Ennai Kathirikkai)
South Indian, specifically Tambrahm version of the ubiquitous stuffed eggplant. Every region in India has its own version, and they're all delicious. This is mine! It goes excellent with rice/sambar, rice/rasam, and rotis.
Course Side dish, Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 8-10 baby eggplants
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp oil
To Roast And Powder
  • 1/4 cup chana dhal (Bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp urad dhal/dehusked black gram whole or split is fine
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds/dhania
  • 8-10 dry red chilies I used a mix of hot and byadagi for color
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp oil to roast the ingredients
For Seasoning And Garnishing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing/asafoetida
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Course Side dish, Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 8-10 baby eggplants
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp oil
To Roast And Powder
  • 1/4 cup chana dhal (Bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp urad dhal/dehusked black gram whole or split is fine
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds/dhania
  • 8-10 dry red chilies I used a mix of hot and byadagi for color
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp oil to roast the ingredients
For Seasoning And Garnishing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing/asafoetida
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Get the masala/powder ready first. Gather the ingredients
  2. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a hot kadai, transfer to a plate to cool
  3. Heat the one tsp of oil to roast the spices, add the spices one by one starting with the dal, followed by the coriander seeds, and ending with the chilies and toast to a golden color
  4. Transfer to a plate to cool
  5. While the spice mix is cooling, get to work on the eggplants. Choose bright firm eggplants, with bright green stems - dark, brown or wilty stems mean the eggplant is mature, with lots of seeds inside and bitter
  6. Take each eggplant, cut the stem off, and make a slit like a plus sign, not cutting through completely. Which will leave the eggplant intact, with a slit.
  7. Keep them in a bowl of water to prevent discoloring. You will also lose some seeds in the water, and lessen the bitterness from the seeds.
  8. Powder the toasted spices as fine as possible and keep on a plate with a spoon, in prep to stuff the brinjals
  9. Now, take each eggplant from the water, take some masala, open the slit gently vertically, then horizontally and fill with as much masala as you can
  10. Try doing this without breaking the eggplant. If it breaks, don't worry. It's all good!
  11. Finish stuffing all the eggplants this way and heat the 3 tbsp of oil in the same kadai. A thick bottomed kadai is preferable to cook these babies.
  12. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds; let them pop. Add the hing and let it fry. Now add the eggplants, add some more masala for good measure, salt and give it a good mix.
  13. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low-medium
  14. Now, open the lid every 5 minutes or so, and stir everything up, making sure the masala is not sticking to the bottom
  15. Slowly, the color would change to indicate the eggplants cooking. From dark purple to a burnt brown color, but glisten with the oil and soft when poked with a fork
  16. When all the eggplants are uniformly cooked, add some fresh curry leaves, and cilantro. Turn the heat off!
Recipe Notes

Masala:

  • The dry spice mix is the one that  I am used to and comfortable with. I always make more masala (in my family, it's called curry podi) than I need and store it for a couple of weeks. This masala is very versatile and can be used as a finishing touch for any vegetable, and does not need cooking too much as the spices are roasted already.
  • I have been wanting to try a different masala which is a paste, and includes coconut, peanuts, and tamarind.That recipe is for another day!
  • This eggplant dish pairs well with rice (sambar, rasam, kadhi, yogurt) as well as pooris, parathas, and rotis!
  • I have not used too much oil in this, contrary to the name "ennai kathirikkai" which translates to oil eggplant 🙂 , but once in a while it would be fun to splurge on it!

Eggplant:

Baby eggplants work best for stuffing. If you don't have them, regular eggplants work just as well, except they won't be stuffed. Chop them into 3 inch long pieces, add them to the oil first, semi-cook them, and then the masala and stir fry-cook them.

Choosing eggplants:

Eggplants mature really quickly. Try to get them as fresh as possible. The most tender, best tasting tender eggplants have the brightest green stems. If the stem is brown, the eggplant is not tender and probably has plenty of bitter seeds.

Once you buy them, they continue to mature quickly in your refrigerator, so use them up as soon as possible.

Salting eggplant:

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that needs salt in the initial stages of cooking or it won't take it. Try not to forget to add salt as soon as you dump them in the kadai for cooking.

 

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