Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Brinjal with Blackeyed Beans ~ for Jihva

Pedatha Avva (My grandmother)
Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha …………… My Avva (Grandmother)

In my unremarkable childhood, the only remarkable thing was the summer holidays I used to spend at my grandmother’s home at Nandikotkur every year. My grandmother, a mother of four daughters and four sons is a ritubidda (farmer’s daughter), and a saint like person. She was my guru and a friend growing up, and I learned devotion from her.

Like Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha, my grandmother is also from a “do one thing at a time” generation. This philosophy was more evident in the kitchen than anywhere else. Cooking was an unconsciously clever and creative act, and done in a unhurried manner to everyone’s satisfaction. One of my favorite recipes from my grandmother is brinjal with black-eyed peas. Seasoned with ginger and green chillies, and served with sorghum roti, this simple preparation with heavenly aroma was a daily breakfast for us. Science has shown that our sense of smell is the first one to be associated with memory. I have to agree, and I still associate ginger flavored brinjal smell to my grandmother’s kitchen. The same recipe has also been featured in the award winning Pedatha’s cookbook.

I prepared this dish with reverence to my beloved avva and in memory of Pedatha.

“From food all creatures are produced. And all creatures that dwell on earth, by food they live and into food they finally pass. Food is the chief among being. Verily he obtains all good who worships the Divine as food.”
-from Upanishads

Brinjal and Blackeyed Beans (Vankaya , Alasanda) Vankaya Alasanda Kura, Photo Taken Before our Lunch today

Alasanda Vankaya (Brinjal with Black-eyed Beans)
(for Jihva Love ~ A Tribute to Tradition)

10 -12 round variety green or purple brinjals, cut to thin pieces lengthwise
Half cup black-eyed peas. Soaked in water overnight, and cooked to tender
4 small variety Indian green chillies and one inch piece of ginger - coarsely grind
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon peanut oil and tadka ingredients

Place a wide skillet on stovetop. Add and heat peanut oil. Add and toast tadka ingredients (garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves) to golden. Add the brinjal pieces to skillet. Cover the skillet. The round variety brinjals cook to tender within minutes. After about five minutes of cooking time, remove the lid. Add the black-eyed peas and green chilli-ginger paste. Also turmeric and salt. Mix. Sauté on medium heat for another five to ten minutes. Serve hot with sorghum roti or chapati, for a filling meal.

Busy days. See you again on Sunday.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Ginger & Sonti, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday April 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (35)

The New Home of Mahanandi:


Chari Phutana and Dried Red Chillies
Chillies and Chari Phutana (Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Mustard Seeds)

Dalma is a popular Oriya comfort food, and prepared with dal-vegetable combination. In dalma, the demure dal becomes dashing, due to a special spice-mix called chari phutana. You know how sunshine can cure winter blues? The chari phutana is the sunshine for this dal-dalma. While preparing Dalma, I realized the reason for the recent negative outburst on my website. Winter blues! No wonder people are cranky. I can’t wait for the spring and sunshine to get here.

Dalma recipe is courtesy of doctor, food writer and nutritional expert, the lovely Nandita of Saffron Trial. You can find her recipe and my photos in January edition of Men’s Health India magazine. I would like to thank Nandita, and Tithi Sarkar, the sub-editor of Men’s Health India for contacting and giving me this photo opportunity.

Dalma with Ruby Red Grapefruits
Dalma with Rice, and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice ~ to Ease the Winter Blues

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Chana Dal, Arati Kaaya (Plantain), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday February 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm- permalink)
Comments (3)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Baby Brinjals and Potatoes

Vankaya~Urlagadda Vepudu:

Brinjals and Red Potatoes ~ Babies Dressed up in Kobbari Kaaram

Last weekend, I purchased these baby brinjals and tiny red potatoes at an Asian grocery shop. Tender and cute, they are about one to one and half inches in size, like small night bulbs. I pressure-cooked the potatoes but for brinjals, following my mother’s philosophy of “less we do, the more the brinjal’s delicate flavor comes through”, I just made two small slits in plus shape and steam-sautéed them. Within ten minutes, the lavender colored brinjals turned to beige and fork-tender. Once the brinjals were done, I just added the potatoes and the kobbari kaaram podi. That’s it, a nice side dish was ready for our meal today.

Small Night-bulb Sized Baby Brinjals and Baby Red Potatoes


Peanut oil - 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves 6, cumin and mustard seeds - Pinch each
Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise - half cup
Baby brinjals (1-2 inches long) - 10, cut in plus shape
Baby red potatoes - 10, pressure-cook or boil to fork-tender
Kobbari kaaram podi - 4 tablespoons
Turmeric and salt - ½ teaspoon each or to taste

In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. Add onion and fry to soft.

Add the brinjals. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of water. Cover the skillet and steam-saute the brinjals to tender, stirring in-between. The young brinjals turn to fork-tender quickly, in about 10-15 minutes.

Add baby potatoes. Sprinkle kobbari kaaram podi, turmeric and salt. Gently mix and cook another 5-10 minutes on low heat. Serve hot. It’s a good side dish to have with rice and sambar or pappu chaaru.

Brinjal-Potato Saute with Kobbari Kaaram and Tomato Pappucharu mixed with Rice ~ Brunch today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Baby Potatoes (Monday August 20, 2007 at 11:38 am- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Ratatouille ~ India Inspired

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Cheeseless and Cheerful ~ India Inspired Ratatouille

When it comes to international cuisine, French cuisine ranks among our favorites. Then again, we are devotees of Tibetan, Thai, Mexican and Italian … well you get the picture. But back to French food, if we may. So delighted are we of the new Pixar animated movie, we decided to recreate one of our favorite French recipes at home. Cheeseless and cheerful ~ The Ratatouille.

Dictionary defines Ratatouille as “A vegetable stew, usually made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions, seasoned with herbs and garlic”. Ratatouille, Pulusu, Kurma or Subzi …different names in different languages but the underlying wisdom is the same. Isn’t it? When vibrant and fresh looking vegetables are available, the recipe served will make happy people happier and comforts those who aren’t. Really, we don’t have to do much in order to make a miraculous meal.

The India inspiration is addition of poppy seeds. When added to bobbling vegetables in the pot, the powdered poppy seeds will bring sweet aroma and subtly enriches the ratatouille in a typical Indian way.

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Farm Fresh Vegetables from Pike Place Market for Ratatouille ~ Round Zucchinis, Red and Green Capsicum, Shallots, Purple Garlic, Baby Carrots, Fresh Peas, Tomatoes & Green Brinjals (Total Cost $8).

1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds and 6 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves and 2 shallots - finely chopped
6 each - tomatoes, brinjals, carrots & 2 each - zucchinis, capsicums ~ cut to chunks
Half cup each - freshly shelled peas and finely chopped coriander leaves
Quarter cup poppy seeds - powdered fine in a spice grinder
¼ tsp red chilli powder, salt and turmeric or to taste
In a big saucepan, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin, mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump, add the garlic and shallots. Stir fry few minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and peas. Cook, covered for about ten minutes. The vegetables start to get tender and you will see lot of water in the pot. At this stage stir in poppy seed paste, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Sprinkle coriander leaves, mix and simmer another ten minutes, until the sauce becomes thick but pourable.
Serve warm with rice/chapati/bread or pasta.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Vankaya (Brinjal), Poppy Seeds, Zucchini (Tuesday July 10, 2007 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Green Brinjals with Cumin

Vankaya with Jeelakarra Karam:

“Let’s consider a situation when you are all alone at home. You are hungry and would like to satisfy your cravings. What will you cook if you want to cook for yourself?”

Asks talented foodblogger Live2Cook.

Just like her, if brinjals are in my vegetable stash, instead of indulging in junk food, I would be motivated enough to prepare a decent meal. I enjoy brinjals that much. Particularly green brinjals which we call Poluru Vankayalu in Telugu. I am one of those people with a passion for green brinjals.

Meal is for myself, so I would go for simple ten-minute preparations like brinjal with ginger or today’s recipe, “Brinjal with Cumin”. This little-known but worth-knowing cumin flavored brinjal curry is a delight to the senses and a must try for green brinjal fans.

Green Brinjals (Poluru Vankayalu)


Aromatic Cumin Powder (Jeelakarra Karam):
Take 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 roughly chopped plump garlic clove, 4 red chillies and a pinch of salt in a grinder. Grind to smooth without adding water.

Green Brinjals (Poluru Vankaya):
Pick 15 young and firm green brinjals. Remove the stem end and wash. Finely slice brinjals lengthwise like shown in the picture above.

Cooking the Curry (Kura):
Heat a wide skillet. Add a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add a pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds and five each - curry leaves and roughly chopped garlic pieces. When they start to turn to gold, add the brinjal pieces.

Saute on medium-high heat, mixing in-between. Green brinjals cook fast, so be ready with aromatic cumin powder. Sprinkle the cumin powder and also turmeric and salt to taste. Toss to mix well and cook few more minutes, until the brinjal pieces are just tender but still green. Serve hot.

Cumin flavored green brinjal curry tastes great with rice/chapati, toasted bread/bagel or with papad.

Cumin Flavored Green Brinjal Curry on a Papad ~ Meal for Myself
For JFI~Eggplant Event Hosted by Lovely Sangeeta of Ghar Ka Khana

Recipe source: Amma, Nandyala


How many of you know that green brinjals are cultivated in India and they are named after a village called “Poluru” near Nandyala region, Andhra Pradesh?

More Green Brinjal (Poluru Vankaya) Recipes:
Stuffed Brinjal Curry (Gutti Vankaya Kura)
Brinjal-Potato Curry
Green Brinjal-Fresh Amaranth Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Jihva For Ingredients, Cumin (Jeelakarra) (Sunday July 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry

(Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

I have written about a type of small, green colored brinjals called Poluru Vankayalu that’s available in Nandyala region. My mother prepares a special curry with green brinjals and red tinged pretty looking amaranth leaves. Fresh ginger is also added. The combination creates a deep flavored curry, which has a unique, indescribable taste. This curry, rice/chapati, dal and yogurt are the routine fare for us. But today, I have prepared pasta in tomato based sauce and added the curry before serving. Good meal.

Reddish Green Fresh Amaranth Leaves and Green Brinjals (Thota kura and Poluru Vankaya)


Prep work:
1 bunch fresh amaranth -pluck leaves and tender stalks, wash and chop finely.
12 green brinjals - wash, remove the petals and cut lengthwise into thin pieces. Add them to salted water
1 Rupee (dollar) coin sized ginger and 4 green chillies - grind to fine consistency

1 tsp of oil, ¼ tsp each- minced garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds
Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.

Remove from water and add green brinjal pieces to the hot skillet. When added to skillet, they have to sizzle, so keep the heat high. Stir fry for few minutes. When they are turning to soft, add finely chopped amaranth leaves. Also sprinkle the grinded ginger-green chilli, a pinch of turmeric and quarter teaspoon of salt. Mix and cook on medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves wilt and curry comes together. Serve hot with rice, chapati or experiment as pasta topping like I did.

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry (Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Thotakura (Amaranth) (Wednesday April 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dazzling Dals ~ Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu)

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Traditionally in Nandyala, dal is usually prepared with less water. The idea is to make round balls of rice, dal and ghee called pappu mudda or amma/mama mudda . Mothers prepare this small rounds to feed children in our homes. Less water means tight dal means firm, round amma mudda.

We love this type of rice-dal muddas. For dal fans, this less water dal is a must try. You will be hooked, I promise. The taste is completely different from watery type of dal. There are some vegetables which suit this type of tight dal, and brinjal is one of them. Young, firm, white fleshed brinjals are cooked with toor dal and red chilli powder. The taste is really special and this traditional dal from Rayalaseema region is a must try for purple/green brinjal fans.

Firm, white fleshed purple brinjal pieces and Toor dal


½ cup of toor dal and 1½ cups of water
2 purple or green young, firm and white fleshed brinjals - cut to small pieces
1 onion - cut to chunks
½ tsp each - red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
2 marble sized tamarind pieces

Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 tsp of oil and
½ tsp each - chopped garlic, curry leaves, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds

Take toor dal in a pressure cooker. Wash and drain. To this washed dal, add one and half cups of water. Also the brinjal, onion, red chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind. Mix with a spoon. Cover and pressure-cook to two or three whistles until the dal is cooked to fall-apart stage.

Once all the valve pressure is released, remove the lid. Add salt. With a wood masher or whisk, mash the dal to smooth consistency. Have a taste and adjust the salt level to your liking.

Now in a saucepan, heat oil to do the popu or tadka. Add and toast the popu ingredients in the order mentioned above starting with chopped garlic and the final item would be toasting the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the mashed dal to this popu. Mix and cover with a lid.

To serve, add a small cup of cooked rice to a plate. To it, add a tablespoon of ghee and a big ladle full of dal. Combine them all thoroughly. Shape the mixture into round balls using your hand. Place the rounds on a plate and enjoy. A side dish of curry/ papad/pickle will enhance the experience very much. Finish off the meal with a glass of buttermilk or yogurt and some fruit for dessert.

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Kitchen Notes:
From Telugu to English, Mudda = Round shape
Prepare this dal only with white fleshed, firm brinjals. Black seeded ones are not suitable and the dal will taste bitter.
We usually add red chilli powder to brinjal dal. Not that good with green chillies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday March 7, 2007 at 6:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Potato ~ Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis Scrumptious Subzis ~ Aloo Baingan Wadi Ki subzi

My temperature got a rise; from a cool 98 it reached 99 this afternoon. No, it’s not another flu attack and I think it is all because of our lunch.

This morning I prepared a special curry. Potatoes, brinjals and tomatoes together cooked with Punjabi wadis. Like Punjabi Sun, wadis - the sun dried lentils and spices mixture, a Punjabi specialty are hot, the kind that makes one warm, tingly and perspire. They look pale brown in color and inside, you will find a maroon colored combination of lentils, like urad dal, moong dal and spices like black peppers, cumin and red chilli. They are ground together and the mixture is sun dried in round shapes. Usually added to curries, they are savory, full of flavor and completely delectable! Just the right thing to have when recovering from a flu attack to wake up those taste buds.

I first heard about wadis at Mika’s beautiful The Green Jackfruit blog. Her description of wadis captivated me. After trying them, I can truly say that their flavor profile is unique and they are quite addictive. Give it a try.

Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi
Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi


2 each - red potatoes, brinjals and Punjabi wadis
4 ripe juicy tomatoes
1 onion
1 teaspoon -ginger-garlic-coriander paste (GGC paste)
1 teaspoon - coriander-cumin-cinnamon-cloves powder (CCCC powder/garam masala)
¼ teaspoon each or to taste - red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
1 tablespoon of oil and popu ingredients

Peel the potatoes, wash and cube them to bite sized pieces. Remove the petals of brinjals, wash and cut to one-inch chunks. Add them to a bowl of salted water and keep aside. Break Punjabi wadis (each wadi is usually the size of a big tomato) to 4 to 5 pieces in a cup. Finely chop tomatoes and onion to small pieces.

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and saute the broken Punjabi wadi pieces to honey color. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep them in a cup to the side.

In the same skillet, add and saute popu ingredients (half teaspoon each-cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves). When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the onion and cook to soft. Next, add tomatoes, potatoes and brinjal pieces. Stir in GGC paste, CCCC powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt along with a cup of water. Mix and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes become tender, stirring occasionally.

Just before turning off the heat, stir in wadi pieces. Cook for another 5 minutes so that they would get softened and absorb the curry flavor. Serve warm with chapati or naans.

Potato-Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis and Garlic Naan

Punjabi Wadis are available in Indian grocery shops, here in US.
Recipe adapted from Mika’s The Green Jackfruit

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday March 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Besan Baingan (Baingan Kalwa)

Brinjals for Dummies series or 101 on brinjal curries should start with this Besan Baingan, I think. Sauteed brinjals coated with besan and spice mix make an excellent, easy to prepare curry. The ingredients list is not much and preparation time is minimum. Can be cooked in maximum 10 to 15 minutes, when you’ve all the ingredients ready to go. A must try for brinjal fans.

Brinjal pieces and Besan(gram flour)
Brinjal Pieces in Water and Besan (Gram Flour)


12 small bulb shaped brinjals (purple or green)
4 tablespoons of besan (gram flour, sanaga pindi)
8 dried red chillies
1 Rupee coin sized ginger - grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon each - sugar, cumin and turmeric
For popu or tadka: 1 tsp each - curry leaves, mustard seeds and oil
-¼ cup of roasted cashews.
(I’ve added the nuts but this is entirely optional. Besan Brinjal taste is impressive with or without cashews.)

Grind together - besan, dried red chillies, sugar and cumin to fine powder in a spice mill or mixie.

After removing the stems and sepals of brinjals, slice them into thin pieces lengthwise and drop them in salted water in a bowl (like shown above).

In a wide skillet, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Remove brinjal pieces from water and add them directly to the skillet. Be ready for sizzling noise. Also add grated ginger. On medium-high heat, saute, turning often with a perforated ladle, so that they fry uniformly on both sides to a gold coloured tender pieces. Just before turning off the heat, stir in besan-spice mix along with salt and turmeric. Mix and fry for few more minutes until the sweet smell of besan permeates the kitchen. Sprinkle roasted cashews or nuts of your liking (watermelon/pumpkin/sunflower seeds - they all taste good with brinjal). Remove and serve hot with rice or with chapatis.

I think you’d be blown away by how good this curry tastes. So simple to make and a sure bet for a special meal.

Besan Baingan and Spinach Dal with Rice
Besan Baingan and Spinach Dal with Rice ~ To Weather the Winter Storm Today

Kitchen notes:
For this recipe the small round purple or green brinjals are best, being sweeter than any other varieties.
If you want, instead of directly adding, first roast the besan-spice mix slowly on another skillet while brinjals are cooking and then sprinkle this fragrant, warm besan-spice mix at the end.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday January 9, 2007 at 3:29 pm- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Brinjal~Jaggery Chutney (Vankaya Bellam Pacchadi)

Cooking is an ultimate balance act, isn’t it? Take time to learn and practice to achieve that balance, the rewards are high. Not only good health, but also a balanced mood. Some ingredients and recipes are easy to balance and master. But for some, one needs yogi’s kind of patience and sadhana. Jaggery, particularly in savory recipes, is one such ingredient that I needed to practice a lot to achieve the balance. Consistency and quantity are difficult to explain and I had to rely on my flavor senses for guidance in my beginner days of cooking. I hope you do the same when you cook with jaggery in savory recipes, like the one I am posting today, as part of my weeklong Jihva jaggery journey.

Brinjal-Jaggery chutney (Vankaya-Bellam pacchadi) is a classic Andhra (Nandyala) recipe where young brinjals, dried red chillies and ginger are first roasted and then grinded together with jaggery, tamarind and salt. The result is a mouthwatering side dish with all 5 flavors and some extra smoky flavor, usually eaten with rice, ghee and dal or sambar. If you like baingan burtha, baba ghanouj style brinjal preparations, where brinjal is grilled and mashed, then this chutney is also your style.

Brinjals, Jaggery and Dried Red Chillies


8 young brinjals - ends removed and sliced lengthwise
8 dried red chillies
1 rupee coin sized ginger
1 red onion or shallot - sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon each of powdered jaggery and tamarind juice
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in an iron skillet. Bring the oil to smoking point. Now add brinjal, onion and ginger. On high heat, grill them. Do not cook and soften but brown them -secret to tasty chutney. If you are one of those ‘gifted’ with charring or blackening all things you cook, then you need to use that gift here, my friend. Leave the care to the world and char the brinjals’ white flesh to your hearts content. Remove them to a plate. Add and grill dried red chillies for few seconds.

In a food processor or blender, take grilled brinjals, onion, ginger and dried red chillies. Add salt, tamarind juice and jaggery. Hit pulse button and coarsely puree. Remove to a cup. Traditionally popu or tadka (toasting cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves in one teaspoon of oil) is added to the chutney at the end but this step is entirely optional. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t, depends on my time and patience.

Serve with rice, ghee and dal or with pappu chaaru/sambhar.

Brinjal-Jaggery chutney mixed with Rice in Pappu chaaru - Savory Jaggery Entry to Kay’s JFI

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday November 29, 2006 at 9:40 pm- permalink)
Comments (33)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Baby Brinjals in Masala Sauce (Gutti Vankaya)

Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry or Baby Brinjals in Masala Sauce)

Once upon a time, like many of us in present time, a housewife was struggling with the question, “what’s for lunch?”

Adding to the stress, it was almost month end, everything in her kitchen cupboard needed refilled. To do that she had to wait until the salary comes home. What she had was few young brinjals from her backyard garden. Even the pleasant pale purple color of brinjals couldn’t lift her spirits up. Nonchalantly she plucked the brinjals and dragged herself into the kitchen to prepare something. She opened the cupboard, added everything that was available there to the skillet to roast. Wonderful aroma from roasting lifted her spirits a little. She had to powder them so pounded away her frustrations. In exercise induced endorphin daze, she thought of a novel way to cook brinjals and made a plus shaped cut in brinjals. In a big skillet, added the brinjals along with powdered ingredients and a glass of water. Covered the vessel and let it simmer while she went to freshen up. When she came back what she had in the pot was a delicious stew of brinjals. So fragrant and so pretty to look at. Her face glowed like a warm sapphire and at last she smiled at her ingenuity. Thus, a new recipe was born! Saving housewives everywhere, whenever they are low in spirits or things in kitchen cupboards.

I am sure this must be the story behind the ever-popular stuffed brinjal curry of India. Like the designers to dress stars at Oscar night, all the famous spices and ingredients in Indian kitchen come out, but here to dress the already gorgeous shiny starlets - the fresh, young brinjals. Needless to say the recipe rocks!

Ingredients for Gutti Vankaya Kura


Roast or toast in an iron skillet:
Needed: quarter cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon and a hot iron skillet. One by one or all together, however it’s convenient for you, roast the following items listed below. Take care not to black or burn them. Ingredients quantity is for 12 brinjals.

- Quarter cup each of:
Chana dal, urad dal, sesame seeds, grated coconut and peanuts
- Tablespoon each of:
Coriander seeds and cumin
- Quarter teaspoon each of:
Cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorn and fenugreek(methi) seeds
- 15 dried red chillies (for 12 brinjals)

Once they are cool enough to touch, take them all in a mixer. Add a tablespoon each of - jaggery, tamarind juice and a teaspoon of salt. Blend them to smooth consistency.

Baby Brinjals:
12 young fresh looking brinjals. Make two cuts in each brinjal, one horizontal and one vertical Like plus (+) shape. Keep one end intact. Check this photo for reference.
(The brinjals I’ve used for this recipe are young and tender, too small to stuff. So I directly added them to the skillet after making a plus shaped cut. If these were somewhat medium size, I’d have stuffed them like I did in this method.)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a big skillet. Do the popu (add and toast few curry leaves and a teaspoon each of cumin and mustard seeds).

Add the cut brinjals to the skillet and also the masala powder you have grinded earlier. Add about a glass of water. Stir in turmeric and salt-½ tsp of each. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring in-between. When brinjals are cooked to tender and masala sauce thickens up a bit - time to turn off the heat. Let the curry sit on stove for another 10 minutes like that, giving more time for the flavors to mingle well.

Serve warm with rice or roti.

This recipe is my mother-in-law’s. Even without ginger-garlic and tomatoes, it tastes great and she usually prepares this curry with pulagam (rice+split moong dal+salt) or jonna rotte (sorghum roti) combination.

Gutti Vankaya Kura mariyu pulagam (Stuffed Brinjal Curry with Split Moong dal Rice)
Gutti Vankaya Kura mariyu pulagam (Stuffed Brinjal Curry with Split Moong dal Rice)

Stuffed Brinjal:
Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry I)
Nune Vankaya kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry II)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday November 3, 2006 at 3:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Brinjal-Ginger Curry

Purple Brinjal - Indian Variety

In old times, the marriage feast in our areas always included brinjal-ginger curry. Considered a classic both in taste and aroma, brinjal-ginger curry brings out the best of both ingredients.


10 round brinjals - (purple or greenish-white)
1×1 inch fresh ginger
4 green chillies
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro
½ tsp of salt and turmeric each
For popu: 1 tsp each - mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal, curry leaves and 2-3 pieces of dried red chillies


Brinjal: Wash and cut brinjal into bite sized pieces. Take water in a vessel; add 1 tsp of salt and mix. Add the cut brinjal pieces to this salted water. This is again an old-time tip, to prevent discoloration and onset of sourness in cut brinjals.

Ginger: Scrape the skin and wash. Finely chop ginger, green chillies and coriander. Add pinch of salt, make a smooth paste in a mortar or using a blender, without adding any water.

Curry: Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a wide pan. Add all the popu ingredients listed above and toast them till the seeds start to splutter. Take cut brinjal pieces from water, fistful each time, add them to the spluttering popu ingredients. Stir in the ginger paste and turmeric. Mix them all together, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring only once for about 10 minutes. When the curry starts to smell incredible, pieces turn to soft, sprinkle salt, mix and turn off the heat. Serve with rice and dal.

Brinjal Curry, Tomato Dal and Rice - Our Lunch

Brinjal-Ginger Curry, rice, tomato dal and little bit of ghee - savoring the tasty stroll in Andhra food heaven.

note to readers: Add salt at the end (so that brinjals can cook fast) and the recipe works only with fresh green chillies, don’t substitute with red chilli powder.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Ginger & Sonti (Thursday January 26, 2006 at 2:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bagara Baingan (Nune Vankaya Kura)

Do you remember my post about stuffed brinjal curry with peanuts and sesame seeds? In that post, I also mentioned different kinds of stuffing that I know. Here is another type of stuffed brinjal curry, I am calling it by Hindi name - ‘Bagara Baingan’ - This time with purple brinjals, stuffing made with dals and fresh coconut and cooked in a pan. The stuffing doesn’t taste very good when pressure-cooked. So for this kind, I make it in a pan, like how they do it back home.

Fresh Coconut, tamarind, purple brinjals, roasted dried red chillies, cashews and mix of chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin  - ingredients for Bagare Baingan

Small, fresh, young, blemish free brinjals - 8 to 12

Roasting for stuffing and gravy:

Chana dal and urad dal - quarter cup each
Black peppercorns and cloves - 4 to 6 each
Dried red chillies - 6 to 8
Cumin, coriander seeds & methi seeds - 1 teaspoon each
Roast them in an iron skillet till golden. Mix them with
Fresh or dried coconut - 1/2 cup
Tamarind juice and powdered jaggery - 1 tablespoon each
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
My addition: One fistful of roasted cashews
Ginger garlic paste and roasted red onions can be added to this mix.

Make a smooth paste of all the above ingredients without adding any water. Divide it into two portions. One for stuffing the brinjals and the other portion is for making the gravy.
Purple brinjals stuffed with roasted dal- coconut-cashew paste

1. Wash to clean up the wax coating on brinjals. Neatly cut and remove the stem of each brinjal.
2. Starting at opposite side of stem, make a plus (+) shaped cut towards the stem side, but not all the way through. (See the photo above, to get an idea)
3. Gently separating the brinjal petals, fill the narrow gap with the prepared paste.


1. In a big, wide, flat pan - heat one tablespoon of peanut oil, do the popu or tadka (toasting one teaspoon each of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and minced garlic).
2. Arrange the brinjals - stuffing side up, neatly in rows. Cover and cook them in their own moisture for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat or until they soften. The younger the brinjals, the faster they cook.
3. Once you are sure that brinjals are tender and cooked, remove them carefully without disturbing shape onto a serving dish.
4. Pour the remaining paste that was kept aside to the pan. Mix it with half glass of water. Sprinkle in turmeric and adjust the salt, spice (red chilli), sour (tamarind) and sugar to your taste. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes on low medium heat, until the gravy thickens.
5. Now put the brinjals back into the thickened gravy. Cook for another couple of minutes.

With rice or roti, this curry is a party favorite and a crowd pleaser.
 Stuffed Brinjal Curry (Bagare baingan, Nune vankaya Kura) with rice

Bagara Baingan with Rice ~ Our dinner today.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Coconut (Fresh), Vankaya (Brinjal), Urad Dal (Washed) (Thursday December 29, 2005 at 9:56 pm- permalink)
Comments (35)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Brinjal & Potato Curry (Vankaya-Alu Pulusu)

Velvety texture of young, fresh green eggplant is a pure luxury, especially when paired with potatoes and tomatoes. The purple brinjals does not have the same delicate flavor but makes a good substitute here. The combination that I like most is brinjal-potato curry with sorghum roti. I have the sorghum flour, I know how to make the roti and I wanted to make them for this curry, but I was short on time so instead I made rice, the quick and easy alternative.

Thai Eggplant (Green brinjal / Poluru Vankaaya)
6 to8 green brinjals
1 or 2 medium sized potatoes - peeled and cubed
4 to 6 large, plump, ripe tomatoes - diced finely
1 onion - sliced thinly lengthwise
1 tablespoon of dry coconut powder
1 tablespoon of poppy seeds (gasa gasaalu) - powdered
1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic-cilantro paste
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder and salt
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric


Take tap water in a pot and add one teaspoon of salt. Cut brinjals into medium size quarters and add them to salt water. This will prevent the discoloration of cut brinjals. (An old trick, I think that all home cooks know in India.)
In a big pan, heat one teaspoon of oil and do the popu or tadka(frying 1 tsp mustard seeds and cumin), add the onions, sauté them till golden. Next add tomatoes, cook them on high heat, covered for few minutes until they soften and turn into mush.
Then, add the brinjal, potato, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coconut, poppy seed powder and ginger-garlic paste. Add half to one glass of water, mix them thoroughly and cook them covered on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Brinjal & Potato Curry with Rice and Boiled Egg
Our meal - Brinjal & Potato curry with rice and boiled egg

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday October 25, 2005 at 10:30 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Gutti Vankaaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry)

From Telugu to English, The literal translation of Gutti vankaaya is ‘bouquet of brinjals’. As its name suggests stuffed brinjal curry is not only an Andhra classic, it is also very pretty to look at and the taste is pure fiery heaven. Greenish white brinjals are perfect for this curry. I make this curry only with this particular variety of brinjal. Unlike the purple brinjals, the green ones have a very delicate skin, cook very easily and taste great.

First part of the recipe is selecting the right brinjals:
If you are going to try this recipe with green brinjals like me, for two people, buy at least 15 to 20 very fresh looking, small size, and perfectly round green brinjals. The brinjals should look shiny without any blemishes, or holes and the stem that they are attached to should be in lively green without having that dried, black look. The tender the green brinjals are, the tastier the end result is. The ones with black seeds are very mature (at least half of your pick will be like this), don’t even bother to cook them, they taste bitter. Because they mature very rapidly, cook them on the same or on next day. Trying to keep them fresh and young in the refrigerator, it’s useless.

It takes at least 30 to 45 minutes to prepare the ingredients and another 30 minutes to cook the curry so attempt this curry only when you have the freshest green brinjals.

Second part is preparing the stuffing:
Ingredients for the stuffing change from home to home. Every home has their own recipe for stuffing. I can make five different kinds stuffing. The one I am going to post today is the family recipe.

Roasted Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Red Dry Chillies, Coriander seeds, cumin, cloves, cinnamon.

Dry roast:

1 cup peanuts - roast them, when they are cooled, rub and remove the skins
1 cup sesame seeds - dry roast them

8 to 10 dried red chillies
One tablespoon of coriander seeds
Half teaspoon of cumin
4 cloves, one small piece of cinnamon stick
5 to 6 fenugreek seeds (menthulu)(They taste bitter so limit the number)
1 teaspoon of salt
Soak key-lime size tamarind in half cup of water and microwave it for about 15 to 30 seconds. Let the water cool down and squeeze the tamarind to get the paste.

Make a tight paste: Grind all of the above ingredients to a fine, smooth paste. You have to stuff this paste into brinjals so while grinding, under any circumstances, do not add water. Take this paste onto a plate and divide it into two portions. One is for stuffing and the other half is for sauce/gravy.

Brinjals stuffed with peanut, sesame paste

Thoroughly wash and dry the green brinjals. Even the freshest ones are not so fresh here, so I depart from the norm and remove the stems of brinjals. If you want, keep the stems. Take each green brinjal and on the end, opposite of stem, make a plus shape slit towards stem side but not all the way through (one vertical and one horizontal slit).

Fill up the plus shape slit (gap) with stuffing. Using your left hand fingers separate the quarters gently, push the stuffing inside with right hand fingers, again gently. Filling up all the slit green brinjals takes time, so have a seat, keep the stuffing and brinjals in front of you. Do it patiently and slowly without breaking the beautiful brinjals. If you do, you won’t get a bouquet but only the petals.:)- So have patience and treat them like a fragile art project.

Just placed stuffed brinjals in Pressure cooker Stuffed brinjal curry in pressure cooker after one whistle


How I cook them again is different from that of home. Here I use a pressure cooker. What? I know.. my method may be new to you but the results are way better. Pressure cooker makes it fast with less oil and the green brinjals are cooked thoroughly, you can’t find not one hard uncooked piece of brinjal, cooked in this way.

Do the popu or tadka(toasting the black mustard seeds and cumin in one teaspoon of oil). Add half of the peanut-sesame paste that was kept aside and half to one glass of water and one teaspoon of turmeric. Mix them up thoroughly without any lumps. Make the gravy/sauce more on the thin side or watery. Taste it, add salt, red chilli powder and tamarind paste if needed. I also add jaggery, very tiny amount to the gravy (making it mildly sweet). Arrange the stuffed brinjals neatly in the gravy, slit side up. Cover and cook them until the green brinjals are very tender to touch.
I pressure-cook them until one whistle on medium low heat. After the whistle sound, I immediately and slowly release the pressure from the valve by lifting the weight. Resulting in very wholesome, thoroughly cooked stuffed green brinjals.

To serve, with a big spoon gently lift the stuffed brinjals, place them on a plate and pour the sauce around. Tastes great with rice or roti.

Stuffed Brinjal Curry(Gutti Vankaaya Kura) with Rice

Stuffed brinjal curry (Gutti Vankaaya Kura) with rice.

Recipe Source:Amma

-------------------------- *** *** -----------------------
I am going to write it down four other types of stuffings that I know for this cury. The proportions of the ingredients are not specified because there are no hard and fast rules and people at home add a little of this, little of that. So feel free to try various proportions as per your taste.

Type 1:
Dry red chillies + dry or fresh coconut+ chana dal & urad dal + cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds and salt. Sauté and make a paste of them without adding water. Add cashews to make it rich.

Besan or gram flour+onions+green chillies+ginger garlic paste+dry coconut powder+coriander powder and salt, make a paste by adding little bit of water.

Type 3:
red onions + dried red chillies roasted in oil then make a paste of them.

Fresh coconut+ roasted peanuts+ roasted sesame seeds+dried red chillies+Coriander seeds+Cumin seeds+cloves+cinnamon stick+ chana dal+ urad dal+tamarind +jaggery and salt. This is my favorite of all.

Before me, some other Indian food bloggers also posted their recipes for this curry. More choices from three other fabulous blogs… always a good thing.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Monday October 24, 2005 at 11:31 pm- permalink)
Comments (105)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Previous Page »