This is another dish with small/baby eggplants and is similar in idea to the Yennai Kaththirikkaai Kuzhambu, but definitely tastes different. During my master's days, I was roommates with this wonderful lady from Andhra and she used to make these exotic Andhra specialties (this dish was one among them). I learned this from her and recently came to know that almost everyone from Andhra is a big fan of gutti vankaya koora.
Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):
Baby eggplants - about 8 to 10 cut into 4 quarters almost up to the stalks (the idea is to use the whole eggplant with the stalk so that the stuffing doesn't fall out)
Cooking oil - about 2 to 3 tablespoons
Jaggery/sugar - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
To fry in a teaspoon of oil and grind into a thick coarse paste:
Channa dhal - 2 tablespoons
Urad dhal - 2 tablespoons
Dried red chillies - 5 to 6
Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Peanuts - about 2 tablespoons
(If using roasted peanuts, you need not fry them again)
Fenugreek seeds - about 4 to 5 just for the flavor (beware!!!! using more of this will turn the dish slightly bitter)
Curry leaves - a few
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - a pinch or two
Tamarind - 1/2 inch stick
Salt - about 1 teaspoon
1. In a pan, heat a drop of oil, fry the red chillies first, add the channa dhal next, fry until it begins to brown slightly, add the urad dhal and wait for it to turn slightly brown, add the rest of the ingredients one after the other and fry until the dhals turn light golden brown in color. Use caution to not burn the dhals. After the ingredients cool down, make a thick coarse paste out of them and set aside.
2. Stuff the slit eggplants with the paste from step 2 and set the remaining paste aside.
4. In another wide pan, heat some cooking oil and place the stuffed eggplants neatly and cook evenly by turning them until they become soft. This roughly takes about 15 - 20 minutes on medium heat.
5. Once the eggplants are soft, add the remaining paste from step 3, a little water to get the gravy consistency and bring it to a boil. Boil until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.
6. Add the sugar/jaggery to step 6, mix in well and turn off the stove.
1. As a variation, you can fry about 1/2 a medium sized onion that is finely chopped and then grind it along with the other ingredients in step 1. You can add some chopped tomatoes at the very end, like 5 minutes before turning off the stove and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
2. If you want this as a dry dish, you can make a coarse powder of the ingredients in step 1, use the entire powder to stuff your eggplants and shallow fry them thoroughly until they are cooked.
This goes very well with steamed rice. Although it takes a little effort to make this, in the end, it is all worth it. This may not be the only version of gutti vankaya koora as there are many different variations that exist.
I'm sending this to Sanghi's Fall in Love - Brinjal event and Shanti Krishnakumar's State Specials event. I dedicate this to the person who I learned this from, a very good friend and ex-roommate, Bindu :-).