Kathrikkai Curry ~ Roasted eggplants

Kathrikkai curry as it is known in Tamil is a simple eggplant roast, perfect with rasam-rice, dahi-rice, or kadhi-rice.  It is aromatic and quite spicy, but not the kind that will burn your tongue.  Best had with bland dishes to spiral the yum quotient. The eggplants used here are small, oblong, very firm, purple ones.

Hop over to Kulsum’s Journey Kitchen for the full post.

Dish: Kathrikkai Curry (Spicy eggplant roast)
Yield: Serves 4-5 persons 


Small purple eggplants / baingan – ½ kg
Mustard seeds / rai – 1 tsp.
Bengal gram / chana dal – 1 tbsp.
White sesame seeds / safed til (optional) – 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder / Lal mirch  – To taste
Turmeric powder / Haldi – ¼ tsp.
Salt – To taste
Asafoetida powder / Hing – 1/8 tsp.
Oil (I prefer sesame oil) – 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp.

Spice mix (Curry podi):

Black gram / Urad dal – 1 tbsp.
Bengal gram / Chana dal – 1 tbsp.
Coriander seeds / Saboot dhania – 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds/ methi dana – 1/8 tsp.
Asafoetida/hing – a pinch


Roast each ingredient listed under ‘spice mix’ separately. The dals should turn pink. When the coriander is roasted half way through, add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Continue roasting till the coriander becomes aromatic. Cool and grind all the roasted ingredients together to almost fine (slightly coarse) powder in a spice grinder. Set aside till needed.

Wash and dry eggplants. Quarter each eggplant lengthwise. If thick, divide into five segments lengthwise. Set aside.

Heat oil till moderately hot in a wok. Crackle mustard seeds.  Add Bengal gram dal, sesame seeds (if using), asafoetida powder and roast till the gram turns pink.  Stand back as sesame seeds tend to splutter and jump around a bit.

Now add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and the eggplants.  Toss so the seasonings are coated well.  Add half the salt and toss once more.  Cover and cook for about five minutes.  Stir occasionally to see that the eggplants are toasted and turn brown, taking care not to burn.  Do not cover too long as the steam might turn the eggplants mushy.  We do not want them mushy but perfectly cooked and to retain their shape.

When cooked add the spice mix and toss till they coat the eggplants evenly.  Adjust salt if needed.  At this stage, you can add a tsp. of oil if the stir fry appears too dry.  A little oil makes a lot of difference but I use restraint.

Serve with rice and dal / rasam / sambar.  This tastes good with phulkas also.

If in a hurry, replace spice mix with off the shelf sambar powder or bisi bela bath powder.

Optional:  Add curry leaves while seasoning.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Pansy

    Your pictures are so nice and clear. The presentation is so nice that it makes the photos more beautiful.

  • Simone

    I love eggplant in most forms but roasted and grilled are definitely among my favorites too. I think it just brings out their natural flavors! Will hop on over to Kulsum’s blog now for the recipe!

  • Rosa

    A beautiful guest post and recipe! Thanks.



  • Raj Kumar

    I heard that Brinjal or Egg Plant affects Hypothalamas (a part in our Brain). It is negative pranic. Please avoid giving Brinjal to your little ones.

    • Harini

      I have read the contrary. Here is what I read – “Research on eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes.” From WHFoods.

  • Sharmilee

    Wow classic clicks and yummy kathrikai curry

  • Rinku Naveen

    Hi Harini
    Loved those perfectly roasted eggplants. I am a big fan of your blog for the recipes and styling. Just love it too much! I too love the natural props styling..
    Thanks for dropping by..those comments coming from you is a big boost for me. 🙂 Thanks a ton!!!

    • Harini

      Welcome, Rinku.:) You have a lovely blog and you style and photograph well too. I am very fond of traditional recipes for payasam, basically because they do not contain refined sugar and are naturally vegan, and your blog has such a rich repertoire!

  • Preethi

    I have a love hate relationship with kathrikkai – these days I tend to find it oddly unsettling to eat except when it is roasted the italian way. Your blog and pictures have a way of making me try things I avoid – like baking, and now, I guess making friends with the kathrikkai again!

    • Harini

      Is that so? Then this is what I should serve you if you visit me! He he!:D

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