Have you had certain days in your life when you actually plan and start-up cooking something but finally end up with something else? Well, these ennai kathirikai fry or stuffed brinjals are part of that story.
A few days back I came across small-sized brinjals in the mall. A Tamilian will immediately conjure images of ‘ennai kathirikai ‘ which is a tangy gravy made with brinjals to go with plain rice.
So did I 😀 …just that the last part got twisted a bit to accommodate my ‘why not?’ wild combinations.
Mom makes it in a completely different manner. She removes the stalk of the brinjals and makes an X-shaped cut from the top to the bottom of the vegetable.
The brinjals are shallow fried in some oil and then added to the gravy in which the masala is cooked with tamarind water. This is the ‘ennai kathirikai’ kuzhambu that mom makes.
But what I did here differently is that I kept the stalk intact and made an asterisk cut on the brinjal from the bottom side to the top.
Then I stuffed the masala, dipped the brinjals in rice batter, and dredged them in breadcrumbs before deep-frying.
Once they are fried, you just have to hold them by the stalk and pop them into your mouth. The brinjals just melted in my mouth with an explosion of flavors.
This can be had as a snack or an appetizer too. A welcome change from the regular recipe. Do give it a try my way and you are bound to love it, esp if you love brinjals.
Over to the recipe….
Ennai kathirikai fry/Stuffed brinjals
- 12 nos small-sized brinjals (200g)
- vegetable oil for frying
For the masala
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp chana dal
- 1 tsp urad dal
- ½ tsp pepper corns
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- a pinch of fennel
- a pinch of fenugreek seeds/methi
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 1 tsp chilly powder
- a pinch of turmeric powder
- 3 nos shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 piece ginger
- 2 tbsp grated coconut
- a marble-sized piece of tamarind
- few curry leaves
- salt as needed
- ½ tsp jaggery
- ¼ cup rice flour
- pepper powder as needed
- salt as needed
- water as needed
- bread crumbs as needed
- Get the ingredients for the masala ready. Wash the brinjals thoroughly.
- Chop the brinjals from the bottom to 3/4th up, leaving it held at the stalk. You can make either an 'X' cut or an asterisk cut. Check for worms and keep the brinjals soaked in water.
- In a pan take a tsp of oil and fry the items in the 1st set up to fenugreek seeds. When it becomes hot to the touch, turn off the flame and add the powders given in the list. Mix well and keep aside to cool.
- In another tsp of oil in the same pan fry, the items given in the 2nd set up to curry leaves.
- Cool this too and grind it along with the spices, jaggery, and salt to a coarse paste without adding water.
- Check the paste for spices and salt and stuff it inside the brinjals, till the whole of the inside is filled with the masala.
- Mix up the rice flour with salt, pepper, and water as needed to make a medium-thick paste for coating the brinjals. Keep the bread crumbs on a separate plate.
- Dip the stuffed brinjals in the batter and then coat with bread crumbs.
- Heat up a sufficient quantity of oil in a pan and fry the brinjals on medium flame, till they are nicely cooked.
- Serve with tomato ketchup or any dips of your choice.
- Small-sized brinjals are preferred for this recipe.
- The whole brinjal should be intact even after cut.
- Take care not to burn the spices, as they can give a bitter taste.
- While grinding first roughly grind the 1st set ingredients for masala, and then grind the 2nd set together with it. Else the dry whole spices may not grind properly, as we are not adding water for grinding.
- But you can add just a bit of water if you find it difficult to grind in your mixer.
- Sambar powder gives that unique flavor. You can skip it if you do not have it.
- Taste test the masala paste before proceeding to stuff the brinjals and increase or decrease spices as per preference. The masala tastes yum by itself.
- Add enough salt and pepper powder to the rice batter, else it will taste bland.
- If you don’t prefer to deep fry, you can bake on a grill, or air fry too. But tawa fry may not work as the brinjal is uncooked, and by the time it cooks, the bread crumbs will turn black.
- If air frying, add a tbsp of oil to the bread crumbs before coating so that it does not dry out. You may have to baste with oil in between if it seems to dry out.
- I have used desiccated coconut. If you are using fresh coconut, saute it for some more time till ìt becomes dry and brown.
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