Kuzhambus are a nice variation to the regular sambars and when grouped with rice and some kootu (dal/lentil and vegetable prepration) they make a very tasty and complete meal. I make them at least once a week, and one of the best vegetables to be used in it is the brinjal/eggplant/aubergine which is also a house favorite. This Eggplant Gravy also goes well with idlis and dosas and you can also have it with rotis and last but not the least (in fact the best) with some thayir saadam (curd rice). I've also added some boiled peanuts, which gives an extra taste to this dish..
Need To Have
- Brinjals/Eggplants - 12 small ones
- Shallots/Small Onions - 1/4 cup
- Tomato - 1 medium chopped
- Tamarind - small lemon size
- Boiled Peanuts - 1/2 cup
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
- Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Urad Dal/Black Gram - 1 teaspoon
- Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
- Curry Leaves - 15
- Dried Red Chilly - 1
- Black Pepper Corns - 1 teaspoon
- Coriander Seeds - 1 tablespoon
- Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Grated Coconut - 1 tablespoon
Remove the tough stem part from the back of the eggplant and slit it twice (like the '+' sign), the slits just going to the other end but not fully, the eggplants should remain whole. Soak the tamarind in hot water (about 1/2 cup), squeeze out the juice, add another cup and repeat, so you have about a cup of tamarind extract.
Roast all the ingredients given under 'to grind' with a drop of oil, switch off and mix in the coconut, cool and grind it to a smooth paste.
Heat some oil, add the urad dal, mustard seeds, when the mustard seeds start spluttering add the fenugreek seeds and asfoetida powder, followed immediately by the shallots. Saute till it turns pink, then add the eggplants and saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Now add the tomatoes and keep mixing till it turns mushy. Then add the tamarind extract, salt and turmeric powder, once it starts boiling reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 5 minutes till the eggplants are almost done. Now add the ground paste, cook for another 2 minutes.
Finally add the curry leaves and the boiled peanuts and cook for a minute more and serve it warm with some rice and pappads.
Raw peanuts are readily available, just pressure cook them with water and salt, cooking time is about 8 or 9 minutes.
If small eggplants are not available, you can still do this with the big ones or with any variety that's available, just dice them into big pieces.