This is a eggplant (aka Kathrikai in Tamil) curry stuffed with delicious and aromatics spices, sautéed and cooked to perfection. Not any eggplant - they should be very tender. Baby eggplants are the best. There are many ways to prepare stuffed eggplants. This is one of our traditional recipes.
The curry is made with small and tender eggplants and cooks pretty quick. The eggplants should be slit to three-fourth keeping the stalk intact. The slits have to be diagonal. Making slits in a couple of eggplants will easily help master the technique as it is simple. Then it is stuffed with the spice powder. It is important to roast the dal separately and then add coriander seeds as the time taken for them to get roasted is different. This helps in even roasting. The amount of the spice mix used for stuffing is according to taste. Anywhere between one to two tablespoons will taste great. The leftover powder, if any, can be stored in airtight containers in freezer. The spice powder may be made in a big batch and stored in freezer. I always have this in hand. This is great to sprinkle on other dry curries too. Salt can be added to the dry spice mix but I prefer to add to the veggie.
The flavor profile of this curry is such that it is totally addictive. This is a dry curry and perfectly pairs with sambhar or rasam rice. I love it yogurt rice too!
This curry is a crowd pleaser. This is also a special curry in many homes and hence perfect for feasts. This is a vegan curry and a must for vegan guests and eggplant lovers.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Kathrikai (baby eggplants) - 20
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/4 cup
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Asfoetida - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig (optional)
For the spice powder
Chana dal - 1/4 cup
Urad dhal - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1/2 cup
Dried red chilies - 16
Dry roast the dals on a medium flame for 4 minutes. Add the coriander seeds and red chilies, roast for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Grind to a coarse powder.
Slit the brinjal diagonally twice to three-fourth the length keeping the stalk intact.
Stuff about a tablespoon of the spice powder on each cut.
Stuff all the eggplants.
Heat oil in a cast-iron pan. Add the mustard seeds and when it splutters add the urad dal. When it turns golden add the asafoetida and curry leaves.
Add the eggplants carefully to the pan. There might be some spice mix in the plate that fell off the eggplants. Reserve it. This can be added in the final stage.
Sprinkle two tablespoon water, cover, and cook on a low-medium flame for 7 minutes.
Gently flip the eggplants taking care not to break them.
Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt, turmeric, and the reserved the spice mix.
Cook for 2-4 minutes, till completely cooked.
Serve with thali or any rice.