Brinjal curry / Ennai kathirikai kuzhambu (Biryani side dish)

This brinjal curry (ennai kathirikai kuzhambu) is very tangy and spicy. The ennai kathirikai kuzhambu is usually eaten with biryani, chapathi/naan/puri or any pulav rice in our home.

In Chennai, especially in Muslim marriages or small hotels, this brinjal curry is served with biryani. The recipe is slightly different at different hotels and also at home. We also call it brinjal chutney. People call it with different names - in Urdu: baingan ka saalna or baingan ki chutney, in Tamil: kathirikai pachadi.

Ennai kathirikai kuzhambu is very easy to prepare and it is very tasty too. You have to take very small brinjals and slit it in between making 2 cuts diagonally and vertically keeping the whole brinjal intact. A paste is prepared and cooked with the brinjals. Ennai kathirikai kuzhambu has tamarind and vinegar, which gives its tanginess. It is also a bit sour and spicy. Ennai kathirikai kuzhambu requires a good quantity of oil, but it is entirely upto you to choose how much oil is to be used. I always enjoy this brinjal curry with biryani. Whenever there is biryani, this is a must for me. My mom always prepares this for me. I like the combination of biryani and brinjal curry and would suggest you try this too.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3 to 4


  • Brinjal - 5
  • For tadka

  • Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Black pepper corns - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 15
  • For paste

  • Tomatoes - 3
  • Garlic cloves - 4
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 12
  • Coriander leaves (few) - 1 tbsp
  • For gravy

  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Vinegar - 2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Salt


  • First grind all the ingredients for making the paste and keep it aside. You can add a little water and grind it.
  • Slit the brinjals and keep it aside.
  • Preheat the pressure cooker and add oil. When it gets warm add cumin seeds and black pepper seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and brinjal and stir well. Be careful - oil can spill on you. Stir it for a few seconds. This is just roasting the brinjals in oil.
  • Then add all dry powder and mix well and add the paste. Mix quickly as it can splutter on you. Otherwise, just keep it off the stove and mix the paste.
  • After adding the paste, add all the remaining ingredients including salt and water. Mix well. Now close the lid and cook until done. I switched it off after 3 whistles from the cooker.
  • When you open the lid after sometime, you can see that a reddish gravy is formed and oil is left on top of the gravy. After this you can simmer the gravy for 10 minutes to get to the required consistency and then switch off.
  • If the gravy is very dry and thick, you can add a little water as per your required consistency and cook in simmer. Stir it slowly to keep the brinjals intact.
  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, just cook it in a vessel and add ingredients step by step and cook until the brinjals are cooked and gravy comes to the required consistency.
  • You can see in the picture how the brinjals have become very soft and a reddish gravy is formed with oil on top .
  • Serve it with naan, chapathi, or biryani or even with idli or dosa.


  • You can add dry spice powder after adding the paste to avoid the dry powders from burning.
  • It is easy to make as everything is added one at a time.
  • Tamarind, vinegar, chilli powder - you can adjust as per your taste.
  • When you add the paste in the gravy, it can spill on you. So be careful. Just keep it off the stove and add all the ingredients and mix it.
  • After cooking in cooker, if you want you can even avoid simmering, if the gravy is already in the required consistency.
  • To make it even easier, you can add ingredients like chilli powder, vinegar, etc directly while grinding and add this paste directly to the brinjals and cook.
  • You can keep this brinjal curry / ennai kathirikai kuzhambu in the fridge for more than a week. It will stay longer than other food as it contains tamarind and vinegar, which act as natural preservatives.

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