Eggplant Fry (Kathirakai Poriyal)

A to Z Challenge (Letter K): Kathirakai (Tamil for ‘Eggplant’)

Also pictured: Ye’abesha Gomen

This dish grew out of my attempts to create my own Rasam powder mix, and I later realized my powder was better used in a “fry.”

When I’m at a friend’s house and they are setting a dish down, I am often told, “This dish is [Tamil veg name] poriyal, um…er… [American veg name] fry” then they smile and place it on the table.

“Fry” (in my opinion) almost exclusively translates to “dry curry” (e.g. no gravy) and this kathirakai poriyal, um, err… eggplant fry… 🙂 is similar in that regard. It’s really more of a dry curry dish.

It (and the ye’abesha gomen) find their way onto our table once a week or so. I like quick dishes that pair nicely with rice and plain yogurt, and this is one of my many such dishes. With prep, this comes together in about 30 minutes.

I always snag Chinese eggplants (the long and skinny eggplants) when I make this dish because they cook the best and fastest. The other varieties have their place, but I don’t think this is the dish for them.

Eggplant Fry

Special Ingredients: Chinese or Indian eggplant (Italian/globe eggplant is not well suited for this dish…if it’s used anyways, skin it.)
Special Tools: n/a

On medium heat, add:

  • 1 Tbsp cooking Oil (I use Olive)
  • A few Mustard Seeds (optional)

When oil is hot (when the mustard seeds pop), add:

  • 4-5 Curry Leaves (optional)

When the curry leaves are done sputtering, add:

  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp (3 pods) Garlic, minced

Fry onions and garlic in oil for about 5-10 minutes until soft. Then add with juices:

  • 1, 14oz can Diced Tomatoes (I use petite diced)
  • 2 Chinese eggplants, diced (or 6+ Indian eggplants)

Cook another 5 minutes, then add:

  • 2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Cook 10 minutes until eggplant are soft, add water as necessary to keep the dish from drying out.

Serve with rice and plain yogurt.


2 thoughts on “Eggplant Fry (Kathirakai Poriyal)

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