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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chutta Kathrikkai pachadi - smoked aubergine relish



This is a little tedious to prepare, but, I find it well worth the effort. It is a South Indian dish usually served on the side with rice and Molagoottal (milagoottal, milagu kootal). But, I just enjoy it as the main dish accompanied by chapathi/roti or rice.

Ingredients
4-6 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
1-2 dry red chilies crushed
salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil for tempering
1/2 cup water (more if you want the dish a bit runny)
5-6 curry leaves (murraya koeniigi) for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish
a pinch each of of mustard seeds, urad dal and cumin seeds for tempering
a pinch of asafoetida
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
about 3 medium calliopes (or any favorite eggplant variety), charred, as in picture below



Smoking or charring the eggplant is the best part of this recipe, the flavor is unmistakable. It is so much easier with a gas stove, now that I have it, and a steel wire roaster.

Slice the eggplant and make some slits on the cut side with a knife; brush the eggplant with some oil; hold it over the open flame and turn them around as needed so they get evenly charred and cooked inside.

Preparation
  1. smoke or char the eggplants either over open fire or on a grill or in the broiler; set aside to cool a little
  2. when cool enough to handle, roughly chop the charred eggplant; i like it chunky; but, you can also run it in the blender for a smoother texture
  3. heat the oil in a pot, add the tempering; when mustard seeds splutter and die down, add the dry red chilies, asafoetida, and the chopped onions and sautee till onions turn translucent
  4. then add eggplant, water, tamarind, brown sugar and salt to taste; stir well.
  5. cover the pot and let it simmer on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes; stir as needed.
  6. adjust the taste to your liking: i prefer it sour-and-sweet so i sort of adjust the tamarind and brown sugar till they seem balanced and to my liking :-)
  7. garnish with curry leaves and cilantro; serve warm or cool, with chapathi, naan or rice.

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1 Comments:

  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Kay said…

    Man! I loooooove this dish! :) We call it kathrikai bajji - I think pachadi became bajji somehow ;) and I love the north Indian bharta too!! nothing like smoked brinjal to awaken those tastebuds!

     

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