My maternal grandmother was an amazing cook. She used to make baby eggplants stuffed with freshly hand-pounded spice mixture and fry them to golden in ghee 😆 her affection was shown directly in the amount of ghee used to fry 😋. The exterior of the eggplants were crispy and interiors soft and melt-in-your-mouth. It could easily be consumed by itself and coming to think of it, will make a great appetizer. This dish is called ‘nei kathirikkai’ or ‘yenna kathirikkai’ in Tamil language which translated means ‘eggplants cooked in ghee or oil’.
For vegetarians and vegans, lentils and beans provide the complete protein with all the essential amino acids. I try to incorporate lentils in all my cooking and also love to use lentils as seasoning powders. Many of these powders are readily available in India, but in the USA we may need to prepare them ourselves. One such seasoning is ‘paruppu podi’. I love to use it to stuff vegetables which otherwise have a mundane taste – a.k.a Brussel sprouts.
Here is a link to the recipe where I prepared Brussel sprouts –
Roasted Brussel sprouts with spicy Lentil seasoning
This recipe brings together my grandmom’s method and replaces it with a different spice powder, simply to elevate the protein content. Eggplants are like a sponge and absorb the flavors we choose. Eggplants cook very quickly, so this dish can be ready while the rice is cooking 🙂
First step – half-cook the eggplants in the microwave. Next stuff them with the spice powder. Last shallow fry them in oil. This is a great side dish with rice and a simple gravy (thinking rasam here !!)
Stuffed Eggplant recipe
- Baby eggplants 15-20
- Oil to shallow fry
Ingredients for Lentil seasoning powder –
- Tuvar dhall or Pigeon peas 2 tbsps
- Moong dhall or split Mung beans 2 tbsps
- Channa dhall or chickpea lentils 2 tbsps
- Dry red chillies (as per taste) 4-5
- Dry roast the 3 lentils with red chillies in a pan till good aroma emanates. Cool and grind to a fine powder.
- Trim the stems off the eggplants and put an X slit at the cut end. The slit must slice the eggplant halfway, leaving the other half intact.
- Arrange the eggplants in a single layer, drizzle 2 tbsps water and microwave for 1-2 mins depending on size of the eggplants.
- Let the eggplants cool down to touch.
- Mix the seasoning powder with salt and stuff 1 tsp into 1 eggplant.
- Carefully shallow fry or pan fry turning the sides and ensuring a crispy texture all around.
- Sprinkle the leftover seasoning all over the eggplants.
- Eggplants are ready to relish !