Summer is the best time to make brinjal dishes in Tamil Nadu as we get excellent kanmai kathirikkai (eggplant grown in dried water bodies). When I was a young girl in Palayamkottai, my mother used to make vattral as a way of preserving brinjal. I don’t have the facilities for that now in Chennai, so I decided to pickle the brinjal. There are several Tamil recipes for brinjal pickle that are very spicy. I wanted a pickle that was not spicy and could be served with a wide variety of dishes from any part of the world. I created this recipe by borrowing concepts from meat-based pickles, making this a very unusual vegetarian pickle that is also easy to make. The bottles empty in no time in my home 🙂
As I have been saying in my earlier brinjal recipes, this vegetable provides insignificant amount of nutrients but it is very popular in South India perhaps because it is available all year round. The sugar and the oil used may contribute a small amount of calories with each serving. However, those who are on carbohydrate or fat restricted diets can safely enjoy this, but in small amounts as a pickle only. That is a fair warning, as this is quite difficult to resist 😀
- 500g Purple Brinjal (Kathirikkai/Eggplant), small variety
- 1/3 C Garlic Cloves, small variety
- 2 T grated Ginger
- 6 Green Chillies, stems removed
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- 1 T Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Fenugreek Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp Mustard Powder
- 1/3 – ½ C Brown Sugar
- 1 ½ T Salt
- ½ C Gingelly Oil/Sesame Oil
- ¼ C Vinegar
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- Wash the brinjal, remove the stems, and quarter lengthwise.
- Heat the oil in a medium kadai or wok. Add the mustard seeds and wait for it to crackle.
- Add the garlic and after a minute, add the brinjal, green chillies, and the ginger. Stir on low heat till the brinjal is almost cooked.
- Add the masala powders (chilli, turmeric, fenugreek, mustard, and cumin). Stir.
- Add salt and curry leaves, and stir for a minute.
- Add the brown sugar and stir till blended.
- Add the vinegar and bring to boil.
- Remove from heat. Cool and bottle.
- Use only the purple variety of brinjal. The flavour of green brinjal does not suit this pickle.
- Use the small variety of garlic to blend with the pickle; large garlic will only give you a few cloves. You can peel the garlic the previous day and store in the fridge, which saves a lot of time when you’re making the pickle.
- I like sweetness in a pickle, but you could use less brown sugar if you prefer a spicy flavour.
- Do not stir when you bring the pickle to boil after adding vinegar. If you do, you will break up the brinjal pieces.
- I prefer to use Kashmiri chilli powder for its mild flavour.
- I like the earthy taste of gingelly oil. If you do not like the flavour, you could use flavourless sunflower oil or groundnut oil.