Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu/Stuffed Kathirikkai Kuzhambu/Stuffed eggplant curry

The blog hosted for this month’s ‘Tried and Tasted’ event is Divya’s Dil Se. She has a beautiful collection of recipes, and among them, I loved this one. I have always wanted a good recipe for a stuffed eggplant kuzhambu. The best I have had was made by one of mom’s friends – Velumani Auntie. She probably doesn’t even remember making it for me, but its one of the meals I remember…and I vividly remember her grinding the masala for the stuffing in the ‘ammi kal’. I used to love the masalas, thuvaiyals and chutnies made in the traditional stone grinder, it lends a taste that you can never get with modern day gadgets. I guess it is the love that goes into the effort someone puts into it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe for this memorable dish. But, Divya’s recipe is the closest to it I have ever made. I stuck to the ingredients in Divya’s recipe, but deviated in the method, just a tad bit. We enjoyed it with hot rice and papad for a satisfying lunch this weekend.

Ingredients:
8 small Indian eggplants
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
golf ball sized tamarind
salt to taste
1 tbsp gingelly oil

To grind:
6 red chillies
1 tbsp peanuts
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp whole pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup defrosted frozen grated coconut
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Method:
Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup water and extract it into a thick pulp. Set aside.

Heat a pan over medium high heat and dry roast all the ingredients under ‘to grind’. Cool and grind it to a fine paste adding salt to taste and a little bit of the tamarind pulp, if you need liquid. You need a thick paste.

Wash and dry the eggplants. Take off the stem, and make a cross slit, going 3/4th of the way to the ends of the eggplants. Stuff the eggplants with the masala. Set aside.

Mix the leftover masala with the turmeric, tamarind pulp and water (if needed) to make a thick gravy. Check for seasoning.

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds and add the curry leaves. Gently add the stuffed eggplants and let it sear on all sides and turn golden brown. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid to cook the eggplants. After a couple of minutes remove the lid and add the reserved gravy. Let it come upto a boil and thicken. Switch off when you see the oil oozing from the sides.

Verdict: Tangy and spicy and the perfect accompaniment to steaming hot rice. Thanks Divya for a wonderful recipe. 🙂 Thanks to Champa for hosting and to Zlamushka for thinking up a wonderful event as this.

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