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.
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.