Brinjal fry close up

Baby Brinjals south Indian style

Brinjals are not by far everybody’s favourite vegetable. However ,it finds a place ,right at the top ,in my list.  My reason for starting to crave a brinjal dish ,as an adult, has nothing to do with childhood habits ! While setting up house during the early years of marriage, I was surrounded by many a foodie influence. One among them was ,my friend Swarna. The brinjal dishes she churns out,continue to be my favourite to date ! It’s a vegetable that holds a ‘special’ place in her food repertoire ! I’d like to think that along with spoiling me and my spouse with her delicious fare,she also managed to create ,in me ,an appreciation for this rather special purple (and also green) plump vegetable ! So the credit goes whole heartedly to her !

(I hope a dish filled with ,her ,yummy guthi vankaya ,gets delivered to my home soon 😉 😉  )

Interestingly ,the brinjal also features as  a special dish  in many cuisines. The eggplant parmigiana ,the ratatouille, the baba ghanoush , the bhagara baingan ,yennai kathrikkai kozhambhu are all a celebration of this very vegetable ! While the vegetable varies in size from the tiny kathrikkai to the enormous aubergine,they also, each ,have their distinct characteristics , in the way that they cook !

In South Indian cooking,the tiny ones are most preferred . They cook to a soft buttery texture and almost melt in the mouth. The meatiness of the vegetable helps it carry robust flavours with ease. Flavours like onion ,garlic and chilli elevate it to being a special side dish on the food table !

Brinjal fry

This is a dish that is part of our regular menu on a weekday lunch. It’s also a recipe that I like to play around with while preparing an Indian meal for vegetarian friends. The only care that needs to be taken with this recipe,is to find the smallest ,most tender brinjals of the same size. They are rather delicate and uniformity in size ensures that they cook evenly !

They are delicious with warm rice moistened with a few teeny drops of ghee. I love to eat it most often with plain curd. The spiciness of the masalas along with the butteriness of the well cooked tender ‘ brinjalette‘  beauties goes lip smackingly well with cold “Thayiru” Yum Yum !!!

The measurements are all eye and hand for this recipe…I have attempted to put it into measurements…please feel free to follow your instincts !

Brinjal fry on a spoon

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Instructions

  • 1. Wash the brinjals,pat dry ,make a crisscross in the middle ,until the crown and set it aside.
  • 2. Don't salt these,they aren't bitter ,because they are so tiny.
  • 3. In a deep pan,add the oil.
  • 4. Once hot,on a medium flame,add the mustard seeds and urad dhal
  • 5. When they splutter,add the small onions (i like them whole) and the curry leaves.
  • 6. Add some salt and let the onions sweat and turn all caramely,you need a few minutes. This is the part that i most enjoy ! They will go soft and golden and turn pulpy.
  • 7. Now add the turmeric and chilli powder and a light sprinkling of water,so that the powders don't burn.
  • 8. Add the tender brinjals and mix to coat well with the onion and spices.
  • 9. Turn down the flame to a very low simmer.
  • 10. When the mixture starts to stick ,add the water ,let it come to a boil and close the lid for 8 to 10 mts.
  • 11. Lift every now and then to gently stir.
  • 12. Once the brinjals have gone soft and sort of gently all mushed down,remove the lid and check seasoning.
  • 13. Adjust if necessary at this point while the liquid remains. Cook until the liquid evaporates.
  • 14. Serve hot or warm.

About Chef

Shanthini Rajkumar

Hello ☺ ! Welcome to Pink lemon tree. A suggestion that has turned into an immensely satisfying connect with foodies from near and far. Best described as a foodie mom ...