Tamil: கத்திரிக்காய் பொறிச்ச குழம்பு (katharikkai poricha kuzhambu)
English: fried eggplant curry
For years I have eaten கத்திரிக்காய் பொறிச்ச குழம்பு as if it was some mystery – it tasted that good.
When I eventually bothered to learn it – I was surprised at how easy is is to make. I am quickly learning that Tamil cooking is not very complicated. There are only a few spices that need to be combined to make the most delicious spreads. The key with this dish is to deep fry the கத்திரிக்காய். The few times I have skimped on the deep frying – i soon regretted it!
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
- 3 eggplants cut into cubes (see photo for cubes less than 1 inch in lenght and breath). Use long eggplants if possible – they are more tasty!
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 green chillies, slit and cut into pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 8 curry leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp of paprika powder
- 1/3 tsp sugar (optional in 12)
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste – this is a key ingredient)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut milk from the homeland (cows or soy milk is an option)
- 1/2 cup oil (this does seem like a lot – but you need it for deep frying)
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 medium tomato chopped roughly (you will be adding it to a grinder)
- a little bit of sugar (this is a controversial ingredient – at times when I have made this – the eggplant has turned out quite bitter – not sure why. To save the dish – we add sugar at the end – but this is probs a very contro thing to do. I remember in 2004 asking அம்மாs in the homeland if they did this and they looked at me like I was mad. The other thing I have done is add mango chutney to the curry in place of sugar.)
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the eggplant and leave for 30 min. The salt will extract the water.
- Squeeze the eggplant with your hands to drain the water out.
- Add most of the oil to a frying pan.
- When the oil is hot – deep fry the eggplant till the skin is crispy and the insides a deep golden colour. See video:
- Remove eggplant and drain the oil by patting it with absorbent paper.
- Add the tomatoes, curry powder, salt, tamarind paste, paprika powder and 1 cup water, grind it and set it aside in a pan.
- Fry curry leaves, chilli, onions and garlic with 1 tsp oil.
- When the onion are golden brown, add the fenugreek seeds and fry for a minute. Set aside.
- Bring the pan with the tomatoe mixture to boil.
- Add the fried onion mix and the fried eggplant and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and once it boils, remove stove.
- This is an optional step and not everyone will do this – but my அம்மாwill add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar this point.
- Add ginger and turn the stove off. Stir in the ginger and cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to allow the ginger to cook.
Note – அம்மா freezes bags of fried eggplant and then defrosts them when she needs to.