Ennai Kathrikai Kuzhambu | Oil-fried Brinjal Curry

Eggplant Curry

In this recipe of the Bhaga Shastra, brinjals are fried or sautéed in oil (ennai) first. Hence the name ennai kathirikai in Tamil language which means ‘brinjals in oil’ or ‘oily brinjals’. Kuzhambu are gravy based dishes from the Tamil Nadu region. 


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About this Recipe

We offer our humble obeisance and gratitude at the feet of the  Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Jagatguru Mahasannidhanam His Divine Holiness Bhagavan Nithyananda Paramashivam for reviving the Bhagashastra as a lifestyle, for millions around the world, gracing them with health, wellness and conscious upliftment.

Brinjal (baingan) is called kathirikai in the Tamil language, and is known as eggplant and aubergine in North America and Europe respectively, is a very important common man’s vegetable in India. In general it is a glossy, purple, teardrop-shaped vegetable, but it can come in a variety of other colors and shapes. 

They include:

  • the familiar eggplant shape with shiny purple skin
  • teardrop-shaped with purple-black skin
  • pear-shaped with glossy black skin
  • long, white, oval
  • Long, thin light green
  • long, thin, purple
  • thin, bright purple

The most popular brinjal found in India is the teardrop shaped purple one with striped skin. The eggplant has been an ingredient in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In the ancient Indian ayurvedic system of medicine, practitioners use white eggplant to treat diabetes and the roots to relieve asthma.

Brinjal gives you a decent supply of potassium and fiber. It has antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which help protect your cells against damage. It’s also high in natural plant chemicals called polyphenols, which can help cells do a better job of processing sugar in diabetes.

It is a very popular vegetable in India as it is low cost and is cooked in a variety of ways into the most delectable of dishes with several regional variations. Brinjal is naturally a little bitter. Sprinkling with a little salt and leaving it aside for 30 minutes helps to draw out its bitterness. This also prevents the brinjal/kathirikai from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy during cooking. The salt water is rinsed off before cooking. 

When brinjal/kathirikai is cut open, its inside flesh is white in color, with a hint of green or yellow, dotted with small clusters of beige seeds. It becomes soft and mushy when cooked. Brinjal/kathirikai can be roasted, baked, steamed, sautéd or even deep fried, as in the Ennai Kathirikai Kuzhambu dish. 

The traditional ennai kathirikai kuzhambu is a gravy based dish from the Tamil Nadu region. Ennai kathirikai kuzhambu has a sour taste along with a complex flavor. So is best served with steamed rice and rotis (flattened bread).

In this recipe of the Bhaga Shastra, brinjals are fried or sautéed in oil (ennai) first. Hence the name ennai kathirikai in Tamil language which means ‘brinjals in oil’ or ‘oily brinjals’. Kuzhambu are gravy based dishes from the Tamil Nadu region. 

Even though the dish is called ‘ennai kathirikai’, it does not imply that a lot of oil is used in the recipe. It is a traditional Tamil cuisine curry but is hugely popular across all states of South India.

Mattu Gulla is a green round brinjal that grows in about 67 hectares microclimate of the Mattu and Kaipunjal villages of Udupi district in coastal Karnataka. This vegetable, given the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag, is much sought after by the people of coastal Karnataka. Grown for nearly 400 years in this region, its seeds are said to have been given by guru Madiraja Swamiji of the Soile Matha, one of the 8 mathas that administer the famous Sri Krishna Temple at Udupi. Till date, the 1st crop of Mattu Gulla is offered at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna of this temple, by the farmers each year.

Bhagashastra Recipe Number- 187

  • Preparation time: 15 mins
  • Cooking time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Servings : 4-5 persons
  • Course: Side dish
  • Cuisine: Tamil Nadu cuisine


  • Tender Brinjal/kathirikai 840 gm 24 palam

For the Spicy Paste

  • Ghee 70 gm 2 palam
  • Clove 4.3 gm ⅛ palam
  • Nutmeg 4.3 gm ⅛ palam
  • Mace 4.3 gm ⅛ palam
  • Black Gram Dal 52.5 gm 1½ palam
  • Grated Dried Kernel 
  •   of Coconut  157.5 gm 4½ palam
  • Coriander Seeds 17.5 gm ½ palam
  • Red Chillies 93.3 gm ⅜ palam
  • Powdered Salt 35 gm 1 palam
  • Tamarind 35 gm 1 palam
  • Ghee or Gingelly Oil 315 gm 9 palam

For Seasoning

  • Chilly 8.75 gm ¼ palam
  • Mustard Seed 8.75 gm ¼ palam
  • Bengal Gram Dal 17.5 gm ½ palam
  • Black Gram Dal 17.5 gm ½ palam
  • Water 187.5 ltr ⅛ padi

Bhaga Shastra gives ingredient measurements in measurement systems used in the olden days. Hence please use the conversion guidelines below to convert it into modern measurement systems. When giving this recipe, we are not rounding any measurements in the modern units, so as to avoid any deviations from the Bhaga shastra. 

For Bhaga Shastra measurement conversion, click HERE

Cooking Method

  1. Remove ¾th of the stem of the brinjal and split them into four parts in such a way the pieces are not separated. Place the slit brinjal, place them in a vessel of water. 
  2. Take a frying pan and heat the ghee/oil in it. 
  3. When the ghee/oil is hot, 1st put the clove, nutmeg and mace. Fry each of them separately, and place them into a plate.
  4. Next add the black gram dal, grated dried kernel of coconut, coriander seeds and red chillies into the hot ghee/oil, frying each of them separately
  5. Grind/pound all this into a coarse powder in a mixer grinder or stone. Add salt  to this powder. 
  6. Take water and tamarind in a steel bowl and squeeze the pulp taking out the seed or residue. 
  7. Add this tamarind pulp to the spice powder and mix well. 
  8. Drain out the cut brinjal from the water. 
  9. Take every slit brinjal and fill this spice-mixed-tamarind paste into each of them, gently without splitting or breaking them. Set them aside for a while.
  10. Take oil or ghee in a kadai and allow it to become hot. 
  11. Add mustard seeds.
  12. When the mustard seeds have spluttered. add bengal gram dal followed by black gram dal and saute them until they are golden brown in color.
  13. Now add the red chillies and fry it too.
  14. Next, add the stuffed brinjal into the seasoning and stir them gently. Sprinkle some water over it and close the kadai with a lid. 
  15.  Every 3 minutes, uncover the lid and stir the brinjals gently. 
  16. Do this until the brinjal becomes soft and is cooked completely. Switch off the stove.
  17. Ennai kathirikai kulambu is now ready. Transfer the Ennai kathirikai kulambu in a bowl and serve it to Swamiji as naivedyam.

Step by step instructions



Take the brinjal/kathirikai and make 4-way slits in each, without breaking them. Place them in a bowl of water.


Place kadai on the stove. Put ghee into it and allow it to become hot.


Add the cloves, mace and nutmeg into the ghee. Remove them into a plate, after they are fried.


After removing the cloves, mace and nutmeg from the ghee, add black gram dal, fry it to a golden brown and remove it from the ghee into the plate.


Next, fry the dried kernel of coconut till it is a light golden color. Remove from the ghee into the plate.


Next, fry the coriander seeds in the same ghee. Remove it into the plate.


Next, add the red chillies and fry it in the remaining ghee. Remove this too into the plate.


Now, transfer all the fried ingredients into a mixer grinder jar.


Grind the fried ingredients into a coarse paste.


Transfer this spicy paste into a bowl.


Take the tamarind and extract pulp, cleaning off the seeds and residue from it.


Add the tamarind pulp and salt to the spicy paste. Mix them well.


Take the slit brinjal and fill the 4-way slit with the spicy ground paste


Repeat this until all the slit brinjal is filled equally well with the ground paste.


Place a kadai on the stove. And, pour the oil into it.


When the oil is hot, put the mustard seed into it.


When the mustard seeds splutter, add the bengal gram dal into it, followed by the black gram dal.


When the bengal gram dal and black gram dal are a golden brown, put the red chillies in and saute it.


Drop the spice paste filled brinjal/kathirikai into the oil gently until they are all in the oil.


Cook the brinjal/kathirikai on a gentle flame, covered. Every 3 minutes, open the lid and stir the brinjal/kathirikai without splitting or breaking them.


Do so until the brinjal is completely cooked. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.


Serve it to Swamiji as naivedyam.