Ennai kathirikkai kulambu is one of my favorite recipe when it comes to south Indian Cuisine. My grandma makes it so well and it is such a pleasure to look at those stuffed baby brinjals/eggplants swimming in the spicy, hot tamarind sauce. I love to eat the tangy brinjals as a side dish for curd rice. Nothing can beat the combo. It happens to be one of my favorite ways to eat this kulmabu too. As this gravy does not have either onions or garlic it is a perfect dish to prepare during fasting time when some do not happen to include both the ingredients in their cooking.
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The only thing you have to keep in mind to make this gravy with tender, baby brinjals as they cook fast and taste better too. Also check out for any worms present inside while slitting the brinjals and discard them. Now off to the recipe....
Ennai Kathirikkai Kulambu
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
- Baby Brinjals / Egg plants – 12 to 15
- Tamarind – small lemon size
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Asafetida – 2 pinch
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Salt – to taste
- Sesame oil – 5 tbsp
For the spice powder:
- Dry whole coriander seeds – 3 tbsp
- Channa dal / Bengal gram – 2 tbsp
- Urad dal – 3 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Whole dry red chillies – 10 – 12
- Fresh grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Soak the tamarind in some warm water. Extract pulp and keep it aside.
Wash the brinjal well. Leave the stem part alone and in the bottom make an X incision with a sharp knife without cutting through and keep aside.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and when warm add all the ingredients mentioned under for spice powder except grated coconut. Roast till they change to a golden brown over medium flame while stirring continuously taking care not to burn it. You will be able to smell the aroma of the roasting spices.
Now add the grated coconut. Mix well with all the ingredients and take off flame. Let the coconut get roasted in the heat of the pan and spices while cooling off. When completely cooled powder finely using a food processor and keep aside.
Now press the ground spice powder either with your fingers or with a spoon or knife tip into the slit brinjal like shown below and press. Reserve any spice powder left.
Heat a deep pan with remaining oil. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add asafetida, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and roast for a minute.
Place the stuffed brinjals, add 2 pinch of salt and close the pan with a lid and let it cook in its own steam for 7-10 minutes. Stir gently in between for the brinjals to cook all over properly.
The brinjals would be cooked by now and the skin would have changed color. Now add the tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, left over ground spice powder, salt and close with a lid.
Let it cook for another 5 mins over low flame and you can see the gravy thickening and the oil would start floating on top.
Garnish with some curry leaves and serve hot with rice and papads.
You can discard the stem if you want and I just left it as such because I find it quite handy while eating.
You can prepare the spice powder in advance and it stores well for 4-5 days on shelf.
Watch out for worms while slitting the brinjals.
Adjust the amount of red chillies according to your spice level.
Do not cook the gravy for long time as the tamarind begins to give out a bitter taste when boiled at length.
Traditionally sesame oil / gingelly oil is used to cook this gravy but if you are not comfortable with its flavor use any cooking oil.
Make sure that you do roast the whole spices over high flame and take care not to burn it, else the taste will be spoiled.