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.
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.