Brinjal Masala / Eggplant Masala also called as "Vankaya Masala" is one of the delicacies of Andhra cuisine. I love this gravy especially the one served at weddings and restaurants. It tastes so unique and little rich and creamy in consistency than the regular one that is made at home kitchen. I often make this vankaya masala at home along with the side of hot white rice. No accompaniments are required and it goes well with rotis, chappathis too. In weddings, they serve this gravy along with Brinji Rice which is an excellent combination. Fresh tender small brinjals / Eggplants are best suited for making this gravy.
Fresh Tender Brinjals - Around 20
Ripe Tomato - 1 Big or 2 Medium
Red Onion - 1 Big
Fresh Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Stem
Green Chili chopped finely - 1 tsp
Coriander Leaves - To Garnish
Water - As Required for making the gravy
Salt - As Required
Jaggery - 1 tiny cube
Thick Tamarind Extract - 1 tbsp
Urad Dal - 2 tsp
Channa Dal - 2 tsp
Black Pepper Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
Sesame Seeds - 2 tsp
Groundnuts/ Peanuts - 1/2 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies - 8 or 10
Cashew Nuts - 5 or 6
- First cut the vegetables that are required and keep them ready. While cutting the brinjals for this gravy, slit them into four halves on the outer side of the tiny brinjal keeping the stem intact. In this way, the whole brinjal will be cooked perfectly and seen in the gravy.
- Dry Roast all the ingredients that are required to make the grounded paste till you get a nice aroma on a medium flame. It should not turn black. Let it cool down a bit. After its cooled completely, make a thick paste out of it.
- In the cooking pan, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and a tsp of ghee first . When its heated, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds in order.
- Add the shredded onion,green chili pieces and a pinch of salt into the pan. Fry them for a minute and then add the ginger garlic paste into it. Fry the contents in the pan till the raw smell goes off.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, curry leaves into the pan and fry them till the tomatoes get mushy and mashed.
- Add the tiny brinjals / baby eggplants and little salt now into the pan.Fry them for a minute.
- Add the thick tamarind extract, required amount of water into the pan. Add jaggery into it now. Cover the lid and allow the contents to cook. When the tiny brinjals get cooked to three fourth, add the grounded paste into the pan. Add required amount of salt for the whole gravy and remaining ghee and oil into it now.
- Let it cook on medium flame for 6-7 minutes. Once you notice the oil oozing on top layer of the gravy, its done. By then, the gravy would have been perfect with all raw smell completely gone.
- Switch off the flame and let the gravy cools down little bit. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot rice or rotis.
Tips / Suggestions
- This gravy tastes extremely good after couple of hours as the gravy settles down with all the grounded spices well.
- Fresh tiny brinjals are a must for this gravy.
- For getting the exact creamy consistency, make sure you add all the ingredients in the grounded paste without fail especially the cashews.
- Do not overcook the brinjals initially. When its cooked to three fourth, add the paste.Otherwise, all the brinjals would get mashed and they wont be seen in the gravy properly.