This Kothsu (also spelled Gothsu or Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy. It is the second Kosthu of this kind that we have posted. The first one, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, uses a different spice mix with the eggplant. These Kothsu recipes are different to many others as they are made with roasted eggplants which gives them a smoky flavour.
Some people get these two Brinjal Kothsu dishes confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but they are different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. Today’s Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.
This recipe can also be made with plantain (green banana) or onions instead of eggplant. See the notes below the recipe for more details.
Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind | Roasted Eggplants in a Spicy Tamarind Gravy
for 2 cups Kothsu
4 dried Indian red chillies
1 tspn bengal gram dal (channa dal)
1.5 tspn coriander seeds
2 tspn ghee
2 or 3 large eggplants
lime sized piece of tamarind
salt to taste
0.75 tspn brown mustard seed
2 tspns ghee
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
2 dried Indian red chillies, pinched into halves
2 green chillies, cut into 3 pieces each
0.5 tspn rice flour
Roast the eggplants over hot coals, or in a charcoal oven. Alternatively you can roast them over a gas flame, under a griller, in the oven or in a covered BBQ (my favourite method).
Sauté the spice mix spices in ghee until golden and an nice aroma arises. Grind them into a paste with a little water. Keep aside.
Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and grind them to a powder. Keep aside.
When the eggplant is well roasted, the skin is charred and the flesh is soft, remove them from the heat and allow to cool. Remove the skin and knead/shred the flesh. Keep aside.
Soak the tamarind in about 0.75 cup or so hot water, for 30 mins, then strain, pushing the pulp through the strainer. Discard the seeds and fibres and keep the water and pulp aside.
Heat the ghee in a kadhai and fry the mustard seed, allowing it to pop. Add the red chillies and asafoetida, then after a moment, add the green chillies and curry leaves. Stir fry a little.
Add the tamarind water, the spice paste and salt to taste, and bring it to the boil.
Add the fenugreek powder to the kothsu once it has boiled well.
Mix the rice flour with water to a thin paste, and mix into the kothsu. Bring back to the boil while stirring, and allow to boil for a few moments.
Add the eggplant to the simmering kothsu. Adjust the consistency of the Kothsu as preferred. It should neither be too thick nor too watery. Stir well and boil for 2 or 3 seconds before removing from the heat and serving. Garnish with coriander leaves if desired.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add 1 – 2 onions that have been chopped and sautéed until translucent and golden, will enhance the flavour of the Kothsu. Add the the khadai after the spices and before the tamarind water.
This dish goes very well with Ven Pongal, broken wheat pongal, chapati, and arasi upma.
For a slight difference in taste, fry the coriander seeds alone and powder them. Make the recipe’s spice paste without the coriander seeds. Proceed with the same recipe, adding the coriander powder just before removing the Kothsu from the heat.
Plantains can be used instead of the eggplants. Cook the plantains by either boiling in their skin or roasting in their skin. Peel them and then mash or knead them well before using in the recipe.
Onion Kothsu can be made in exactly the same way by replacing the eggplant with 175g onions. Chop and fry the onions and add to the simmering tamarind water and spices.