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Ennai Kathirikai

  • Veg
  • 1 hr
  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • For the masala paste:


This is not an easy recipe to pronounce: Ennaikathirikai.

The translation of the Southern Indian Tamil tongue twister is eggplant (aubergine or brinjal–all meaning the same vegetable).

Traditionally, you use the small, yet firm eggplants to prepare Ennaikathirikai. Since they are not everywhere available, you can use any other variety as well.

This highly aromatic curry is all about the balance between the tangy tamarind and the spicy masala paste.

Tamarind is used extensively in India, South East Asia, and also in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium. Together with the low-calorie count of the eggplant, this dish should be part of every healthy diet.

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How to make Ennai Kathirikai

To make the masala paste:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the shallots/onions and sweat until the onions become translucent.
  2. Add all other ingredients and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Cover the pan and let it cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a blender and grind into a fine paste.
  5. When using the small eggplants, stuff the paste into the X shaped cut. 

To make the eggplant curry:

  1. Fry the eggplants in the hot oil until almost cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add mustard, fenugreek seeds, chili, lentils, asafetida, and curry leaves to the hot oil, always stirring.
  3. Return the masala paste to the pan and mix all ingredients.
  4. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the oil has separated and oozed out of the curry.
  5. Add the tamarind, water, and sugar and cook until the oil separates and floats on top of the curry.
  6. Add the eggplant and boil for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked andthe sauce has thickened.
  7. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  8. Enjoy with rice.

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