Brinjal, eggplant, aubergine-so many names for that commonplace vegetable.
One thing I've noticed about people's taste for this vegetable is that they either love it or they hate it! I'm not much of a brinjal lover myself- except for the roasted one which kills the itchiness. This is a version of something called Brinjal dry curry with podi (roasted and powdered lentils and spices ). I first had this a few years ago at a relative's house and it was one of the few times that the brinjal seeds didn't send my throat into a furious itch.
Here's how it goes-
7-8 small brinjals (deep purple ones)- removed and sliced lengthwise into quarters
3 T chana dal (split bengal gram)
4-5 red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 T sesame seeds
2 T grated fresh coconut
1 small lemon sized ball tamarind
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves
Finely chopped coriander for garnish
Take all the ingredients for the podi in a pan. Dry roast them, until the dal turns golden brown and the ingredients give off a nice aroma. Rough grind it to maintain the texture of the podi. Remove from mixer and keep aside.
Keep a cup of water to boil in a pan. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and the tamarind extract to this. Once the water starts boiling- add the quartered brinjal pieces and keep the flame on SIM. Let the brinjal cook for 5-7 minutes in the tamarind water.
Once they turn a little tender-drain and remove from pan.
In a dry non-stick pan, take 2 tsp of oil. Splutter some mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the podi, fry it in the oil for 5 minutes or so and then add the brinjal. Season with curry powder / sambhar powder and salt. Saute for some more time until the brinjal is completely coated with the podi and the podi looks well fried /golden brown.
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or sambhar-rice.
I'm sure this one appeals even to those who aren't very fond of the vegetable. The podi imparts a nice crispy texture as well as a nutty taste to the brinjal.
You could add a Tbsp of grated jaggery to the podi to add a nice sweet tinge to the existing spicy, sour and salty flavour.
You can use this podi for giving a whole new twist to the good old potato-curry too.