Kathirikkai Chops – Brinjal/Eggplant pepper masala

brinjal pepper masala,kathirikkai chopsBrinjal is on many people’s hate list and there are some who love it. I am in between (always in between – naduvule konjam kaaname pone pakkam). I like it. Brinjal is one vegetable that elegantly carries off traditional Indian curries as well as baked continental fare. It is a very versatile vegetable and there are a dozen ways to cook it. They can be stuffed, baked into casseroles, deep fried like bajjis, shallow fried, stir-fried, pureed into pestos, grilled or roasted. What I am posting today is a simple fried version seasoned by a hot pepper-coconut masala. This Kathirikkai chops is a dry, spicy side dish that goes well with steamed rice or roti. There are lots of brinjals out there – small green ones, small purple ones, the big purple ones and the streaked purple ones are most commonly available. I used the small purple ones. You could try the dish with other varieties of brinjals as well.




You never know, with this Kathirikkai chops, the brinjal hater in your family may actually start liking it (or may start hating me). My husband hated yogurt, lassi and other yogurt based dishes and would never touch them until once when he went to the US. He happened to try flavoured yogurt and he realized that he really liked it (as if it’s not available in Nilgiris. He knew but never dared to try it). He has been transformed ever since and enjoys lassi and our very own Nilgiris’ flavoured yogurt also. I dare you to try brinjal. If you don’t like it.. try again later. 

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients

Eggplant/Brinjal/Aubergine – 1/4 kilo chopped lengthwise
Onion – 1 chopped
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Masala Paste

Coconut – 3 tbsp grated
Black peppercorns – 1-1/2 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp

Method

1.      Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai and when hot add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add onions and curry leaves and sauté till the onions are translucent.

2.      Drop in the chopped brinjal/eggplant and turmeric powder and let fry for a minute. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes.

3.      Meanwhile grind together grated coconut, black peppercorns, cumin and water in a mixer to a smooth paste.

4.      Add the ground paste to the brinjal and mix well. Don’t add water at any point. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 minutes or till the eggplants are tender but not mushy.

5.      Remove lid, drizzle 1 tbsp oil along the edges of the kadai and gently stir the eggplants around. Cook uncovered on low for 5-10 minutes till the masala is dry and well fried and the oil separates. Serve hot with steamed rice and sambar or rasam.
Notes

Soak cut-up brinjals in salted water to prevent the brinjals getting discoloured. Adding salt also reduces the amount of oil absorbed.
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