Nei Kathirikai, also known as Stuffed Brinjals in Ghee, is a beloved South Indian dish that combines the unique flavours of brinjals, onions, and aromatic spices. This vegetarian delight is a perfect side dish for a traditional South Indian meal or a flavorful addition to any dining table.
The secret to this recipe’s charm lies in the stuffing. Finely chopped onions, combined with a medley of spices, create a mouthwatering blend that infuses the brinjals with an explosion of flavours. Cumin powder, coriander powder, and sambar powder provide a rich, earthy taste, while red chilli powder adds a gentle kick of spice. A hint of turmeric powder brings colour and warmth to the mix. The stuffing is bound together with a pinch of salt to enhance the overall taste.
The preparation is straightforward. Brinjals are quartered and stuffed with the onion-spice mixture, ensuring the base remains intact. Ghee, the star of this dish, is used both for sautéing the onions and cooking the stuffed brinjals. This golden clarified butter infuses the plate with a rich and flavorful aroma.
As the brinjals cook in the ghee, they soak up the flavours, becoming tender and incredibly flavorful. A sprinkle of salt and a lid to cover the pan complete the cooking process, allowing the brinjals to steam to perfection.
Nei Kathirikai pairs beautifully with roti, dosa, or hot steamed rice, and it’s a fantastic accompaniment to South Indian main courses. Whether you’re a fan of South Indian cuisine or looking to explore new flavours, Nei Kathirikai is a must-try dish that’ll satisfy your taste buds.
- 3 to 4 Kathirikai (Brinjals)
- 2 Onions (finely chopped)
- 2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 2 tsp Sambar Powder
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Ghee as required
- Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan.
- Sauté the onions, green chillies, and tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add cumin powder, coriander powder, sambar powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
- Stir well.
- Remove the stems of the brinjals and slice them into quarters, keeping the base intact. Do not cut through.
- Stuff the brinjals with the onion-spice mixture.
- Add more ghee to the pan.
- Place the stuffed brinjals in the pan and cook on low flame, turning them occasionally.
- Sprinkle a little salt and cover the pan with a lid.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until the brinjals are well cooked.
- Remove and serve as a side dish with roti.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can I use any type of brinjals for this recipe?
Yes, you can use different varieties of brinjals, but choose smaller ones for this dish for better results.
Is Nei Kathirikai very spicy?
The spiciness can be adjusted by controlling the amount of red chili powder. You can make it milder or spicier according to your preference.
What are some typical main dishes that Nei Kathirikai complements?
Nei Kathirikai pairs wonderfully with South Indian main courses like sambar, rasam, or curd rice. It also goes well with roti, dosa, and various rice preparations.
Can I make this dish in advance and reheat it later?
Yes, Nei Kathirikai can be prepared ahead of time and reheated when needed. It retains its flavours and tastes delicious even after reheating.
Is ghee essential for this recipe, or can I use another cooking oil?
Ghee is traditionally used in this recipe for its distinct flavour. However, you can substitute it with cooking oil if you prefer a lighter version, but it won’t have the same traditional taste.