Recipe: Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal - Godyears

Recipe: Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal

October 30, 2015

Do you want to see something cool? Read the names below out loud.

Al badinjan. Badinjan. Vatingana. Baingan. 
Melitzan. Melongene. Melanjan. Melanzana. 
Bazhlakhan. Berenjana. Albergina. Aubergine. 

Note the similarity in the phonetic sounds of the words above? 

In order, that is: 
Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi, 
Greek, Latin, French, Italian, 
Russian, Spanish, Catalan and finally British. 

If in the penultimate step, you convert Catalan's 'albergina' into the Portuguese 'beringala' or the Swahili 'biringanya', the final step is a name more familiar to us in India and our dear friends in Malaysia, Singapore and the West Indies too: Brinjal.

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal

Yup, the world has been playing Chinese Whispers with the poor brinjal's name for literally centuries! Shows you how connected we have been from as far back as the 5th century.

In Tamil Nadu, the aubergine is known as Kathrikkai. A traditional "Ennai Kathrikkai" is like a mini-burst of flavours in your mouth. The key components involved ideally include brinjals, a nice spicy blend of masala powders and the tangy tamarind bite all in one dish. It is usually served as a curry dish alongside rice or roti but here, we decided to make the blend of spices thicker and use it directly as a stuffing within the eggplant instead.

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal


  • Small brinjals - 1/2 kg
  • Onions - 3
  • Green chillies -3
  • Garlic cloves - 12
  • Ginger - one small piece
  • Tomato - 1
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Chilli powder - 3 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 4tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - a pinch
  • Tamarind - a small lime size
  • Oil - 100ml

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal


Slit the brinjal from the bottom upwards to a little above the middle in a criss-cross pattern and then soak it in turmeric water.
Cut the tomato & onions into small pieces. Heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a pan, put the fenugreek seeds and when they start to crackle, add onions and saute till light brown in colour. 
Add ginger, garlic, tomato, green chillies & curry leaves and saute for a minute. Now add coriander powder and salt & saute once more. Switch off the stove and add chilli powder and mix well.
When cool, grind this to a fine paste, remove the brinjals from the turmeric water and stuff each brinjal with this masala mix.
Heat the remaining oil in a kadai, add the stuffed brinjals on a low flame & cook. 
When they become soft , add the squeezed tamarind water & cook till oil separates and starts to float. Finally add 1 teaspoon of sugar and toss.

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal

Ennai kathrikkai / Masala Stuffed Brinjal
Click the image to convert it to its full size and download the recipe

Expect to see the odd food recipe like this at Godyears too - all prepared by my mother - from recipes she has collected as far back as the 1980's - with some unique to Kerala cuisine and some variations of international dishes. 
Since the goal is to share, I will be looking to make all the recipes into easy downloadable single images as well so that you can save them on to your mobile/device and use them offline. Of course, if you do try them out, it would be awesome if you gave me (and her) feedback here on what you thought of the dish.

For the list of all the recipes so far (including seafood, egg dishes, sweets, twists on traditional dishes et al), click here:
For more food posts,  click here.

P.S. We call it an eggplant basically because early 18th century versions were slightly yellow or white and resembled goose or hen's eggs.

P.P.S One last fun fact: The brinjal - considered the king of vegetables by many in India - is NOT actually a vegetable. Botanically, this FRUIT belongs to the BERRY family and is more closely related to another 'berry-type' fruit, the tomato (Waaaaat!?)

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