E for…. Ennai Kathirikkai

And I have arrived at the the fifth letter of the English alphabet, E, for the Alphabet Cooking Challenge! I decided to try my hands on Ennai Kathirikkai, something that I love but had never made at home before. 🙂 Made it for dinner today, and it turned out great!

I looked up several recipes for Ennai Kathirikkai on the internet, and learnt that there are SO MANY variations. I decided to keep this recipe as the base, with a few variations of my own.

Here is how I made it.

Ingredients (for two people):

For the stuffing:

1 tablespoon oil

1 large onion, chopped into large cubes

About 5 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon of raw peanuts

1 tablespoon of dhania

3-4 dry, red chillies

1 tablespoon of fresh, grated coconut

1 tablespoon of chana dal

Salt to taste

Other ingredients:

About 10 small, purple brinjals

Salt, to taste

Turmeric powder, to taste

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 tablespoon of oil

A pinch of asafoetida

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind

Jaggery/sugar to taste


For the filling:

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the peanuts, dhania, chana dal, red chillies and grated coconut to it. Roast till it starts getting brown, or till the mixture starts emanating a heady fragrance.

2. At this stage, add the garlic and onion to the pan. Roast for 2-3 minutes.

3. Allow the roasted mixture to cool, and grind it into a paste in a mixer with salt to taste, without adding any water. Keep aside.

For the assembling:

1. Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 5 minutes. Extract a thick paste out of it. Keep aside.

2. Cut off the stems of the brinjals. Make one cut horizontally and one vertically across the head of the brinjals, for about 3/4 of their length.

3. Stuff the filling into the cuts in the brinjals. If the filling is still left over, it can be used later while cooking the brinjals.

4. Heat the oil in a small pressure cooker, and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Add the asafoetida.

5. Put in the stuffed brinjals and reduce the flame of the gas. Stir them lightly, taking care to ensure that they do not break apart. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the tamarind paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, jaggery/sugar and salt to taste. Any filling that has been left over can be added at this stage.

7. Add a very small quantity of water. Mix well. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for about 2 whistles.

Goes well with rotis and parathas!


10 thoughts on “E for…. Ennai Kathirikkai

    1. @Perspectivesandprejudices

      I’ve heard that mustard oil adds a whole new flavour to ennai kathirikkai. Sadly, I don’t buy it at all. I used sunflower oil here.

      I would love to try out mustard oil some time. 🙂


  1. Hey contradictory to its name this doesn’t seem oily at all. So my variation of this is a paste of peanut butter and spices for the filling. I have also been lazy about filling and just tried sauteeing the piece of brinjal with the paste. Either way. .yummy. Brinjals and peanuts are a lovely combo in my book and my husband who was introduced to this only recently won’t eat Brinjals any other way now!


    1. @Popgoesthebiscuit

      Well, traditionally, ennai kathirikkai is cooked in a pan, with loads of oil. The vegetable needs to cook in the oil, on a low flame. However, I wanted to reduce the usage of oil, and so, made it in a pressure cooker.

      Brinjals and peanuts make a lovely combination, yes! 🙂


  2. TGND, I love ennai kathrikkai! I had it for the first time when I was in Bangalore last. My cook made it and I fell in love with it. Absolutely love the taste. I’ve modified it a tiny bit to suit our taste. Instead of cooking baby brinjals, I take a big one, slice it, marinate it rubbing some turmeric, chilly powder and salt and then bake the slices. I then put the slices into the gravy. It’s a huge hit at all the parties I’ve served it at here 🙂 Just the thought of it makes my mouth water!


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