Eggplant/Brinjal Gravy [Kathirikai Kaarakuzhambhu]

Today’s recipe is Eggplant/Brinjal Gravy[Kathirikai Kaarakuzhambhu]

One of the most famous dish of Tamilnadu, this is a very simple[If you have the ingredients] recipe and goes very well with rice, or Dosa and Idly. Sometimes with Chapattis too J

There are variations possible in this recipe, many replace the eggplants/Brinjal with Okra or the lady’s fingers, drumstick or Yam. This is a tangy, a little spicy dish(with sweetness from the eggplants) hence the name ‘KaaraKuzhambhu’ meaning Spicy hot gravy in Tamil.

The method may look complex, but believe me it is all preparation work and the result will be awesome.


The tang in the gravy comes from the use of tamarind juice which can be replaced with lemon juice or more tomatoes, but nothing equals to the pungent tang from the tamarind.

My version, while it may look so spicy with red oil spatters on top, but that my beloved people is one of the tricks learnt from my mom. Floating fat on top doesn’t mean I have added a lot of oil in addition to the required[or allowed] quantity. We just add a pinch of chilly powder when you saute the seasoning and the vegetables before adding the wet ingredients like tomato-onion paste and the tamarind pulp juice.

As I was saying a lot of variations that are done, so you can do without the eggplants or with any vegetable or combination of vegetables , the gravy will still be delicious.

Let’s get on with the preparation method


Ingredients to make – Serves about 4 persons with rice/Dosa/Idlis

To temper the curry –
  1. Mustard seeds
  2. Cumin seed
  3. Black peppercorns
  4. Fenugreek
  5. Sliced onion – 1 small
  6. Fresh curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  7. Peeled garlic cloves – 2
Grind and keep these –
  1. Large onions – 2
  2. Tomatoes – 2
  3. Grated coconut – 3tbsp
Other ingredients
  1. Oil – 2 tsp
  2. Brinjal/eggplants – 250 gms
  3. Green chilly – 1
  4. Salt as per taste
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Chilly powder – 1 tsp
  7. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  8. Tamarind juice – 2 tbsp.

Preparation method

  1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil and add the mustard, cumin, pepper and the fenugreek seeds 20181108_072458
  2. Once you feel aroma of them frying, all the sliced onions, curry leaves and garlic. Coriander leaves are optional. Mind your hands and face here, it will splutter.20181108_072541
  3. Once they are slightly fried, add the eggplants, cut in vertically as you see in the pictures and the green chilly.  20181108_072743
  4. Sauté well till your eggplant slightly change colour.
  5. Then add salt and a little of the chilly powder. Trust me, this makes all the difference in how your dish looks. 20181108_073124
  6. Slightly mix the salt and chilly powder and mix.
  7. Add the ground paste of onion, tomatoes and coconut along with the tamarind juice.
  8. Add the remaining chilly powder, turmeric and coriander powder and roast well until they coat the eggplant pieces.  20181108_073304
  9. Add water, about a cup (don’t thin the gravy much) and let the gravy on the stove top on high for few minutes.
  10. Reduce the flame and simmer the gravy until the oil comes on top. Approximately 10 – 15 minutes. 20181108_074132
  11. Take the gravy off flame. Your gravy is ready to be served.



  1. You can replace brinjal with okra, sliced in halves or drumsticks or yam cubes. Or just plain with no vegetables will be delicious too.
  2. Serve hot with rice and papad. The combination is unbeatable.


From my Instagram post –

Eggplants(aubergine/brinjal) gravy south Indian style

A spicy(mustard,cumin, pepper, fenugreek, garlic) and tangy(tomatoes and tamarind juice) gravy with little oil as against the traditional ‘ennai kathirikai’ made from brinjal/aubergine is an awesome accompaniment made to go with rice for lunch.

#eggplant #brinjalgravy #ennaikathirikai #brinjal #aubergine #spicygravy #tamilfood #oldfashionedrecipes ##eeeeeats #onthetable #dailyfoodfeed #oldrecipeswithamoderntwist #fhareencooks #foodstagram #foodphotography #food #healthycooking #spicyfood #spices #indiangravy



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