Friday, October 4, 2013

Eenai Kathrikai - Eggplant cooked in a flavorful coconut gravy

Good Morning lovely readers !!!! How are we doing today???? It's a delectable recipe and a walk down memory lane for today........

While growing up, I was made to eat all the vegetables. No exceptions were made in this regard. I have my Nanu (maternal grand-dad) to thank for that. An extremely patient man, I can hardly ever remember a time when I got into trouble with him. The only time I saw him loose his cool was at our meal times, when I was little and protested that I would not eat what was served. But it was only later I understood that he was just playing the part of being stern, so that I would eat all my veggies. Going on to explain what "playing the part means"..........if I would ever retort or throw a tantrum at the dining table, my Nanu's face would change to an uncompromising expression and the newspaper would be rolled up by him..... followed by a bang on the dining table !!! In response to the bang, my mouth would be wide-open in horror, while my grand-mom pushed the food down my throat. So having said that, I developed a palate for all things delicious or not (bitter-gourd) at a very early age. I also learnt some life lessons from him that has definitely kept me grounded and my head on my shoulders. I miss him terribly.......

This particular  eggplant curry is my grand-mom's recipe and is one of my favorite. Raised in Chennai, she is a typical South Indian. "Amma" (Mother) as I fondly call her, would grind masalas' (spice paste) on the traditional stone grinder. It was a gigantic stone grinder that sat in the area adjoining the kitchen. She'd sit cross legged and patiently grind the ingredients to the right consistency. She'd let me add water whenever she needed it. She liked to do things the traditional way and would never compromise on the taste. So the fact that the food processor was sitting there on the kitchen counter-top to make her life easy was never an option. The sound of the stone grinder and the smell of the freshly ground paste brings back some fond memories.  Wish I had inherited her resilience.

Now coming to the authentic tamilian recipe "Eenai Kathrikai": 
Serves : 4
Time: 40 minutes

16 small eggplant/ brinjal
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1/4 bunch corriander leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup grated fresh/ frozen coconut
1" stick cinnamon
1 green cardamom
3 cloves
1/4 tsp fennel
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp corriander powder
11/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup water
5 tsp oil
salt to taste


While shopping for eggplant, look for small ones with the stem if possible. It's awesome to be able to lift them with the stem and eat. Wash and wipe the eggplant and make a + cut leaving the bottom portion with the stem intact. Soak in water until ready to use. This also prevents the eggplant from turning brown.

Next, heat 2 tsp oil and add the whole spices. Next add onions and fry till translucent. Add fennel seeds and corriander leaves and fry for a minute. Add the grated coconut and fry another 1 minute. Once cool add  the dry spices (Chilli powder, corriander powder, and turmeric), ginger-garlic paste and 1/4 cup water and grind to a smooth paste. 

Heat the remaining oil (3 tsp) in a pan and return the ground masala paste and fry till the oil separates. Add tomatoes and fry till soft. Add salt to taste and the cut eggplant. 1/4 cup water (more or less) may be added to the gravy depending on the consistency required. Cover and cook till the eggplant is completely done and the gravy thickens. ( If in a hurry, you could pressure cook the eggplants for 1 whistle.)  
Serve with hot steamed rice or roti.

Do drop me a line if you try it. Have a wonderful weekend and stay tuned for an exciting line up of posts coming up next week !!!!

Images:Clicked by me. Please do not use without prior written permission.
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.


  1. yum:) I can never pull off a curry with fried coconut gravy :( I may need to try this following each step to a t ! my Grandma used to make one similar recipe with tiny pearl onions. I would call it her masterpiece; Haven't tasted anything like that since :(
    Thanks for sharing Sruthi and you have the most wonderful Weekend :))

    1. Thank you Peeli - do give it a try and let me know how you liked it. It always does the trick for me and takes me down memory lane.......hope it works for you too:)

  2. looks yummy..will try it tomorrow!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Manasa.......let me know how you like it:)

  3. going to try it asap.....sounds delish

    1. Hello Roopa !!!! Please let me know the verdict.......and thank you for stopping by:)

  4. tried it was good...the gravy was yummmmm....
    Can you please upload the recipe of Upma done by it!!!

    1. Do appreciate you getting back to me with the feedback Manasa.....I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Will definitely do a post on Upma ASAP:)


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