Ennai Kathirikai

This is a very famous and traditional Tamil dish which is made with tender brinjals. Iam not going to translate it because it is a very unique recipe. But let me explain- ‘ennai’ means ‘oil’ and ‘kathirikai’ is ‘brinjal’.

Ennai kathirikai is mainly made as a side dish for rice. It can be made as a gravy type or little watery to pour it and eat. The quantity of water added makes the difference. Today let’s see the gravy one.

I used to make this ennai kathirikai a lot when I was in Jo’burg . My friends and their husbands used to like it a lot. I have said this recipe to many of my friends and was asked by them to write it in my website.

Normally coconut is added to this recipe. But substitute it with peanuts, you will get a mouth-watering recipe!! I will come back with the one using coconut soon.

This spicy and tangy ‘ennai kathirikai’ is perfect side dish for rice but it is also good for chapathi, roti and other rice combinations too..

Please go through the step-by-step process explained elaborately with pictures for your convenience.

A must recipe to try at home when you get tender brinjals❤


  • Brinjal- 8
  • Big Onion- 2 ( finely sliced lengthwise)
  • Small Onion- 10 ( chopped)
  • Tomato- 2 big ( finely chopped to small)
  • Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli- 2
  • Curry leaves- 8 to 10
  • Peanuts- 2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Methi/fenugreek seeds- 1/4th tsp
  • Chilli powder with coriander powder mix- 1 and a half tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4th tsp
  • Tamarind- small lemon sized
  • Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- as needed.


Clean the brinjals well, remove the top portion, slit it like plus mark in the bottom. Wipe it with a clean towel after cleaning. Remove the water drops on it.
Plus mark in the bottom.
Slit like this.
Heat 4 tbsp of sesame oil in a pan and start to saute these brinjals till it gets soft. We will use the left oil to make the gravy.
Once the brinjals are soft, keep it separate.
Now take a pan, roast the peanuts till they are not raw and keep it separate.
I have chopped the tomatoes very fine.
Once the roasted peanuts are cooled, move it into a mixer and grind along with fennel seeds, cumin seeds.
Powder to smooth.
Now pour the left oil in a big pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds splutter, add methi seeds, curry leaves and red chillies.
Add the finely chopped onions and start sauting it in medium flame.
After 1 minute, add the chopped small onions too.
Add little salt now and saute everything together till the onion turns colour to slight brown.
Onions are soft and the colour changed to slight brown now.
Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away in medium flame.
Now everything is combined well and soft. Onions turn some more brown now. Good consistency.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes.
Saute the tomatoes till they are soft and mushy in medium flame.
Once they are soft, add the chilli powder with coriander powder mix, turmeric powder and grinded powder mix.
Mix everything together.
Add required water. This water consistency is completely upto you. I added 150 ml as I was making it as a side dish. But the water added should be appropriate to the masala made. Do not make it more watery.
Mix it well.
Close it with a lid and cook for 5 minutes in medium flame.
Once opened after 5 minutes, you can see oil separated on top.
Add the tamarind paste now.
Add 100 ml more water. Check and adjust the salt now.
Close it with a lid and cook for 3 more minutes in medium flame.
Once opened, you can see the oil separated on top.
Place the fried soft brinjals on top and give one soft mix with the gravy.
Close it and cook in low flame for 3 to 4 more minutes.
Once opened , garnish with coriander leaves.


  • A small piece of jaggery can be added if you would like to stabilise the tangy taste from tamarind used.
  • I made it as a side dish for rice. The water consistency can be adjusted.
  • Use sesame oil for good taste.
  • Use small, tender brinjals only.