My dear Indian Grocer ladies who greet me with hugs and discuss with me libraries, temples, chanting and food, who are passionate about Indian food, who are South Indians through and through even though some are from Malaysia, whom I love a lot, showered me with the most gorgeous eggplants, swearing they were so tender. Telling me to saute them only. Guaranteeing they would make a most marvelous dish. They were right. Of course.
You might also like to try Baingan Kabharta – Eggplant Curry, Eggplant with Sesame and Soy, Eggplant with Mirin and Miso Paste, Narasihman’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry, or Tender Eggplant. Browse all of our Eggplant recipes here and here, and our Indian recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Autumn dishes here and here.
Brinjal Fry. Kathirikai Varuval | Eggplant Sautéed with Spices
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil
Prep time: 5 mins or less
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 people
enough eggplants for 4 people. If you are using the gorgeous ones above, use 1 per person. If using the larger purple variety, 1 eggplant will serve 2 – 3 people.
1/2 tspn black mustard seeds
1.5 tspn cumin seeds (don’t skimp, cumin and eggplant is a marriage made in heaven)
1 tspn kalonji (optional, but delicious if you have it)
1 tspn ginger-garlic paste (I use home made)
1 tspn green chilli paste (I use home made) or 2 or 3 green chillies diced finely
1 tspn turmeric
4 dried chillies, pinched to ensure that they do not explode while cooking
6 spring onions (those thin, long ones with green stalks and a white base)
1 – 2 Tblspn ghee
a little water
Dice the eggplants into medium dice. Do this immediately before cooking so that they don’t darken. If you wish, you can put them into salted water until it is time to add them to the dish.
Peel the spring onions and cut into 1.5 – 2cm long pieces. Leave aside.
Heat the ghee in a frying pan, wok, or best of all, a karahi (Indian wok). Pop the mustard seeds, then add the cumin and dried chillies. Allow the cumin to darken slightly, then add the kalonji and turmeric.
Now stir in the eggplants and saute, stirring until they are coated with the spice mix. They will absorb the ghee, keep stirring for a few moments so that the heat can begin the cooking process. Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste and stir around so that the pastes melt and mix through evenly.
Now, you want the eggplant to cook but not to stew. As they are so absorbent, it is difficult to get this process right without burning the spices. Here is a trick. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to the eggplant, cover and allow to slowly simmer until the water has evaporated. Stir and add 2 or 3 more tablespoons of water, cover and repeat until the eggplant is cooked to your liking – soft and delicious without turning to mush. It will take 10 – 15 mins depending on your eggplant, maybe a bit less with small and tender eggplants.
Towards the end of the cooking, add the chopped spring onions.
That’s it! Serve, sprinkle with a little chopped green coriander if you wish, and enjoy!