Brinjal pachadi/Kathirikai pachadi (Biryani side dish)

Kathirikai pachadi is a famous side dish which is served with biryani in Chennai. In Chennai, we get biryani every where but there are some places where biryani is famous for its taste, quality and quantity. In Chennai there are some take away shops where biryani is sold but not all the shops biryani will be good. In some places where there is Muslim community you will get very good biryani made by experiened Muslim chefs and the biryani is known as daekchi biryani (biryani made in a very big vessel). People just come in, order and take home to enjoy this delicious biryani. Even my friends used to ask me the shop name, when we used to order for them and they used to like it very much. It is like a small shop, you cannot eat there as there will be no space and only biryani is sold at his shop. The timings will be in the afternoon or in evenings only but now a days you get at both times. Whoever comes and buys this biryani will also get two side dish - onion pachadi (creamy curd raitha) and brinjal pachadi. In Muslim marriages in Chennai, brinjal pachadi is a must as a side dish. Whoever has tasted this wants to get hold of this recipe. The recipe which I shared with you earlier (brinjal curry) is different from this recipe but it is also very easy to make and tastes the same as previous one even though ingredients are completely different. This recipe was shared to me by my Muslim friend from Salem. Her mother used to prepare this recipe. I have no idea about the measurement as I just took the ingredients and prepared this kathirikai pachadi as a side dish for the biryani. It came out so well that this dish also became my favourite. It can be a favourite for the pregnant women as it is sour and tangy.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • Small brinjals  - 7
  • Seasoning / tadka

  • Oil – 1/3 cup or less
  • Black pepper corns – 3/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Green cardamoms (optional) – 2
  • Cloves (optional) – 3
  • Curry leaves – 15
  • Gravy

  • Onion (medium, chopped) – 1
  • Tomato (medium) – 1
  • Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Tamarind paste (double concentrated) – 1/2 tsp
  • Vinegar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Green chillies (slit) – 3
  • Chilli powder – 1 1/2 to 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder (optional) – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • Dry spice powder

  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp or more
  • Khus khus (poppy seeds) – 1 tsp
  • Dry coconut (kopra) – 2 small pieces or 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp
  • Pepper corns – 1/2 tsp

Method

    Dry spice powder

  • Add all the ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder and keep it ready. It is fine if it is a little coarse.
  • Make cross cuts across the top of the brinjals (make 4 cuts on each brinjal but not fully). Keep them aside.
  • Chop onion and tomato. Keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker. When hot, add all the seasoning ingredients - cumin seeds, pepper corns, curry leaves, cloves and green cardamoms. Sauté for about 30 seconds.
  • Add onion cook until it is soft and transparent. Add tomatoes, green chillies and brinjal. Saute for 2 mins on a medium flame.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and ground spice powder. Roast for 3 to 4 mins on a medium to low flame. Keep stirring until the brinjal is coated with spices and is roasted well.
  • Add required amount of water, tamarind paste, vinegar and salt. The quantity of water should such that to cook the brinjal and to have gravy (curry) as per your quantity. Close the lid, allow 2 whistles and then switch off.
  • Open the lid when there is no more pressure in the cooker. Simmer for another 5 to 8 mins with the lid closed or until you get the desired consistency.
  • Serve with hot biryani and relish its taste.

Notes

  • You can roast the brinjals in oil with onion or without onion after the seasoning. After that you can add all the ingredients one by one.
  • Add tamarind and vinegar as per your taste.
  • You can add 3 curry leaves when grinding the spice powder. This will give more flavour.
  • If the gravy/curry is thin, simmer until it thickens or gets to the consistency you want.
  • Stir the curry very gently so that you dont break the brinjal as it will be very tender.

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