We are not chettiyars , but we love their cuisine. I wouldn’t call this an authentic chettinadu preparation , but this is my mom’s recipe. It is her version of Yennai kathrikai kuzhambu. She has changed the original recipe to our liking at home.
Take about 5-6 small sized aubergines / kathrikaai. The variety of aubergine I’ve used is entirely purple in color , it does not have white specks on it. This type of aubergine will not leave out water while cooking, you’ll get a nice thick kuzhambu
For Yennai kathrikaai , cut the aubergines like we do for any stuffing. Put 4-5 slits and take it only up to the middle , do not chop the entire vegetable , it should retain its original shape.
For the kuzhambu , take a small gooseberry sized tamarind and soak it in lukewarm water. Later take the extract from this. Soaking the tamarind in lukewarm water makes it easier to get the extract.
Now take 4 tomatoes and 3 onions and chop them into jullienes , i.e. , cut them lengthwise.
This kuzhambu recipe does not require any sambar podi or anything , this requires only two powders : Turmeric-for color and Red chilli powder – for color and spice.
This kuzhambu tastes best when cooked in sesame oil , but you can use any cooking oil of your choice. Most of the Tamilnadu based cooking uses only sesame oil. To give this dish chettinadu flavor I have tempered it with Fennel seeds and Fenugreek seeds.
|Aubergines / brinjal||6-7 slit|
|Onions medium sized||3|
|Tamarind extract||200 ml|
|Sesame oil||6 tbsps|
|Fennel / saunf / sombu||1 tbsp|
|Fenugreek seeds / methi/ mendhiyam||1 tbsp|
|Red chilli powder||4 tbsps|
- Make the above mentioned pre requisites ready , it’ll take about 10-12 minutes to prepare.
- Take a kadaai , keep it on medium heat , add sesame oil to the kadaai and allow it to heat up. This will take about a minute or so.
- Now temper it with fennel and fenugreek and allow them to crackle.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and onions and saute them until tomatoes turns soft and mushy and onions should become translucent.
- After the tomatoes turn soft , immerse the slit aubergines into the gravy and add salt.
- Give this a nice stir. Do not break the aubergines ,they need to retain their shape. immerse the aubergines into the gravy and close it with a lid. Let it cook this way for about 3 minutes. Do not add water. It has to cook in the gravy itself.
- After 3 minutes , remove the lid and add turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
- Saute this evenly and add the tamarind extract.
- Allow it to boil for about 2 minutes and later close it with the lid and let it cook for about 15 minutes in low heat.
- After 15 minutes remove the lid and you’ll see a thick gravy and the aubergines would have cooked to perfection.
- Take it off the heat , transfer it to a serving bowl and serve it hot with plain rice and accompany it with a paapad or a vadaam. This can also be served as a side dish to Tamilnadu Style Appams.