Its always a pleasure to venture out new things with Eggplants / Brinjals. Got some tender fresh purple eggplants from the Vegetable market last week and also got two bunches of fresh mint / pudina. Then I decided to make the Spicy Vankaya Masala with a small twist. Fragrance of pudina nicely blends with the spices and the taste of the gravy is divine. Needless to say the health benefits of Pudina / Mint, it adds more nutritional value to the dish along with the spices. Try this exotic side dish once in your kitchen and enjoy this side dish with a side of hot rice or roti. Well, pudina vankaya masala came out very tasty and acquired a permanent spot in one of the preferred side dishes list at home. !!
IngredientsTender Eggplants / Brinjals - 12 to 15
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - To Taste
Turmeric Powder - 2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Stem
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Hing - 1 Dash
Sugar - 1 pinch
Red Onion - 2 Medium ( finely shredded )
Ripe Tomatoes - 2 Medium ( finely chopped )
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Green Chilli - 1 ( finely shredded )
For the Gravy:Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
Channa Dal / Kadalai Paruppu - 3/4 tbsp
Urad Dal / Ulutham Paruppu - 3/4 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 8 to 10
Black Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds - 1/2 tbsp
Cashew Nuts Whole - 6 or 7
Pudina Leaves washed - 2 cups
- Wash the eggplants and slit them into four parts but without breaking the eggplant as a whole. Just slit into four portions gently so as to insert the grounded masala inside every eggplant and cook them as whole.Soak them in water and keep it aside.
- Meantime, in the cooking vessel, toast all the ingredients required to make the gravy except the mint leaves. Once you get a nice aroma, transfer them into a blender and allow them to cool In the same vessel, add a drop of oil and fry the washed mint leaves as well. Transfer them into the blender and grind them into a thick gravy.
- Now take small portions of the gravy and just fillin the slits inside the brinjals. Keep them in a plate carefully. Keep the remaining gravy aside.
- Now the actual preparation starts. In the cooking vessel, add 1 tbsp of oil. When its heated up, add the hing, mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves followed by ginger garlic paste, shredded onion and shredded green chili. Fry them till the raw smell completely vanishes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, turmeric powder into the cooking vessel now. When the tomatoes get mashed thoroughly, add the masala filled eggplants / brinjals into the cooking kadai / vessel.
- Add required amount of salt to the vessel just enough for the brinjals. Cover the vessel and allow them to cook well.
- Once the brinjal gets cooked three fourth, add the remaining gravy paste into the vessel. Add half glass of water or more ( as per your consistency ) into the vessel. Add required amount of salt for the gravy at this point.
- Cover them again and cook for nearly 6 to 7 minutes. Once you see oil floating on top of the gravy, switch off the flame. While cooking the dish, gently stir the gravy and care not to break the brinjals while mixing.
Tips / Suggestions
- Always use fresh tender Eggplants to get a delicious curry.
- It goes well very well with plain basmati rice and a drop of ghee. Perfect combo on a cold winter day.
- Fresh pudina always enhances the taste of the gravy so don't compromise on its freshness by adding dried mint leaves.
- Don't forget to add few cashews in your gravy as it adds richness to the gravy.
- I would love to add a tsp of sesame oil on top of the gravy after its done. If you wish, you can even do the whole dish using sesame oil completely.