Kathrikaai Karamadhu / Aubergine stir fry


Kathrikaai Karamadhu or Aubergine stir fry , is a vegetable side dish that is detested by many. Mainly because of its color and the way it looks after being cooked. There are various varieties in Aubergine , which variety you choose and how you cook it is what makes this dish delectable or Yuck-able .

In a TamBrahm’s house , Aubergine or kathrikaai is a very common vegetable , in fact in my house we make this once in every 3 days. Sometimes sister and I revolt with our parents and somehow avoid this vegetable to enter the house up to 10 days.

As far as I know there are 6 varieties of aubergines available in the market. One is green and long which comes from Tirupati , there is another small green one which has white stripes which is very common in Udupi side , There is this full purple no white speck / stripes , there is another variety from Vellore which has white stripes , this variety is used to make vadaams (Fried Savory) or sometimes it is sun dried and used as Thaan in Kaara kuzhambu. There is this new breed of aubergines which are called as “Disco Kathrikaai” in Chennai it looks slightly pale purple and slightly elongated than the regular aubergine. Last but not the least is the huge purple aubergines which the punjabis use to make Bartha , in South we make it to use SuttaKathrikaai Thuvayal (Smoked Aubergine Chutney).

The one I have used to make the stir fry is “Disco Kathrikaai” . The same preparation can be made using Udupi Kathrikaai , Full Purple Kathrikaai and Tirupati Kathrikaai.

We like it when the aubergines are cut into julienne , you can cut it however you want , either as small quarters , as cubes or as big bite sized chunks.

Vellore kathrikaai has more water content , I personally do not like it as it looks like one big blob of Sticky vegetable after it is cooked.(Yuck!)


Wash cut the aubergines to your desired shape and size. Take a wok , in medium heat , add 4 tbsps of oil , 1 tsp of mustard seeds , white urad dal , chana dal and a pinch of asafoetida. Saute them , add few curry leaves and then add the chopped aubergines. Mix all this evenly and continue to cook it in medium high heat. Now add salt , turmeric , red chilly powder and Kuzhambu Powder. Saute this evenly and allow it to cook in low heat for about 7 minutes , stir in between so that all sides are cooked evenly . At the end of 7 minutes you’ll see that the quantity of the aubergines would have reduced , this means that they are cooked , garnish with chopped coriander leaves and mix. Take it in a serving bowl and serve it hot.

Other similar preparations you can try are : Raw Banana Stir fry , Potato Stir fry , Vendakai Karamadhu / okra stir fry.

Aubergine Stir Fry


  • Cuisine: south indian
  • Style of Preparation: Tamilnadu Style
  • Yield: 4
  • Course or type: side dish
  • Cooking Technique: Sautéing
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1/2 kilo Chopped Aubergine
4 tbsps Vegetable oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp white urad dal
1 tsp chana dal
1 pinch asafoetida
5 – 6 curry leaves
to taste Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tbsps kuzhambu podi
chopped coriander leaves


  1. Wash and chop the aubergines to your desired shape and size.
  2. Take a wok , on medium heat , add 4 tbsps of oil. Crackle Mustard seeds , then add urad dal , chana dal and a pinch of asafoetida. Saute until aromatic.
  3. Add curry leaves and then the chopped aubergines. Mix this evenly.
  4. Now add all the powder ingredients and saute. Continue to cook the aubergines in low heat for 7-8 minutes. Stir in between so that it cooks evenly on all sides.
  5. After about 8 minutes , you’ll notice that the quantity would have halved and the purple color will change into slightly greenish in color or brown in color.
  6. At this stage add the chopped coriander leaves and mix.
  7. Take it off the heat and transfer it in a serving dish.


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