Archive for the ‘Eggplant’ Category

Pitlai (eggplants in tamarind coconut sauce)

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Pitlai is a very typical Iyer dish. Though it uses ingredients used for sambar, pitlai consistency is somewhere between a sambar or a kootu and it is a good change from the usual menu of sambar, rasam or kozhambu. Pagakai pitlai (Bitter gourd pitali) is very famous recipe, since I don’t eat bitter gourd often( I will ISG, soon), I usually make pitlai out of eggplants. When I use eggplants, I can play with the consistency and can even make it thick and dry like a poriyal.

Ingredients: (Serves-2)

Purple-small eggplants- 8
Tamarind- one lime size ball
Salt- to taste
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Cooked toor dal -1/2 cup
(or a combination of cooked toor dal and chana dal together-1/2 cup)

For tempering:
Oil- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few
Asafoetida- one pinch

To Grind:
Urad Dal- 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Chana dal- 2 tbsp
Dry red chilies- 4
Coconut- 3 tbsp

Method:

Wash and chop the eggplants in to cubes. Soak them in water with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes (to remove the seeds and the bitterness).

Add one cup of warm water to the tamarind and extract one cup of tamarind juice. You can also use 1/4 tsp of tamarind paste instead of using whole tamarind. Add another 1/2 cup of plain water and make the tamarind extract to 1.5 cups.

Toast the ingredients in the same order given under “to powder” section to a golden color. Let it cool and grind to a fine powder.

Heat oil in a pan and add oil and mustard seeds. When it splutters, add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Drain water from the eggplants and add it to the pan. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes, till it loses water. Add salt, turmeric powder and the tamarind juice. Cover and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

When the eggplants are almost half cooked, add the cooked dal to the pan, stir well to mix, and add the dry toasted powder, mix well again and cover and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

You can switch off the pitlai depending on the consistency you want, either a watery consistency like a sambar, thick like a kootu or even thicker like a poriyal. Serve hot with rice.

Pitlai is great on its own with a stir fried kari, or podimas or as a side dish for morekozhambu. Else you can use pitlai like a thugayal for rice.

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Ennai Kathrikai Curry (Eggplant stuffed with spices)

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Yennai-Kathirikai

Ennai kathirikai curry/stuffed eggplants is the best combination for Rasam. I still remember that during summer holidays when all the kids gather at one house and tear the place apart ordering moms and aunts to make our favorite recipes, this would top the list.

This recipe calls for slowly stir frying the eggplants. So we have to choose the baby eggplants(small purple ones) as it will cook faster and will absorb the masala. I use the shortcut method sometimes and instead of grinding the spices, use a similar combination- milagai podi, which we usually use for Idlis.

Ingredients (for 10 eggplants)

Purple eggplants – 10

Light olive oil/ sesame oil- 3 tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Asafoetida- 1 pinch

Curry leaves- a few

Salt – to taste

To grind:

Chana dal- 3 tbsp

Urad dal- 3 tbsp

Whole dry red chilies- 4

Method:

Wash and remove the green cap of the eggplants. Pat them dry.

Toast the spices to a golden brown color, given under the list to grind. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Add a pinch of salt and keep aside. Instead of grinding this powder, you can also substitute idli milagai podi.

Take an eggplant and slit it but without cutting the eggplant fully. Stuff the spice mixture (about 1/4 tsp) inside the eggplant. Similarly stuff all eggplants with the spice mix.

Heat oil in a non stick pan and add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add curry leaves. Reduce the flame to a low-medium. Arrange all eggplants in a circular pattern inside the pan, closer to the middle of the pan where it is hot(not near the edges). Sprinkle some salt on top of the eggplants.

Wait for about 5 minutes and turn the eggplants slowly to the other side. Let it roast for another 5 minutes.

Now cover the eggplants, while keeping the flame on a low. Let it cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid and turn it on the other side and cover and cook again for another 7-8 minutes. The steam itself is enough to cook the eggplants and that is why we choose the smaller size. If you feel that eggplant is not cooked enough, you can sprinkle some water and cover and cook till its tender.

Serve the eggplants with sambar rice or rasam. This curry can also be used to bind with rice and be eaten as kathirikai rice (eggplant rice).

Some tips:

Make sure that the flame is on a low and the eggplants are cooked enough(skin is soft). Else on a high flame, the skin of the eggplants will be charred and the inside will still be uncooked resulting in an unpleasant taste.

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