North Karnataka Badanekai yenagai/ Small purple Brinjals in a sweet & nutty sauce
This dish is like a favourite among all dwelling in the Northern part of Karnataka. The first time I ever tasted this, was when I used to stay with about 20 other girls in a hostel in Bangalore. My roommate was from Bellary & she brought this from home, when she got back after a holiday. I don’t really like brinjal, if you notice this is my first post which has brinjal in it. But, believe me this is dish is yummy.. the minute you taste the masala that’s wrapped all around the brinjal, you will for sure want more.. Brinjal is called Badanekai in Kannada. Something slow fried in a little excess oil is called Yenagai..
Peanuts, sesame, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds & red chilli’s all dry roasted & mixed with some coconut & tamarind & ground together to form a yummy paste, which is later on stuffed inside the brinjal & cooked along with some tempered mustard seeds, asafoetida & some heavenly smelling curry leaves .. I know your mouth must be watering reading this elaborate description. 🙂 It does take a wee bit more time than most of the other dishes I posted earlier. But all the efforts are totally worth it, & I’m sure you won’t disagree once you try it.
This is popularly eaten with a North Karnataka style Indian bread/roti called Jolada Rotti, which is made of corn meal/Jolada hittu (Kannada)/Makki ka atta (Punjabi) (Thanks to El for pointing this out to me.. I wrote corn flour instead of corn meal). It’s very thin & quite filling. This post is only on how you can prepare Badanekai Yenagai. You can also eat this with chapatis’.
Ingredients: (Serves 2-3) Preparation Time – 40-45 mins
Small Purple brinjal/aubergine/eggplant – 6-7,
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – a generous pinch
Red onion – 1 small-sized, finely chopped
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
For the Masala:
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 4 Cloves
Cinnamon stick – a small piece, about half an inch piece
Dried Red Chilies – 4-5, medium-spicy variety, if you have only a spicy variety then use 2-3, or use 4-5 if you love your food spicy.. 🙂
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp, I used white sesame seeds
Pink groundnuts – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut – 6 tbsp if you are using fresh coconut, else 5 tbsp of desiccated coconut
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble-sized piece
Jaggery – a small piece, about 1/2 tsp if you powder it
Red onion – 1 small-sized chopped
Salt to taste
Heat a fry pan, set heat to medium. First add the groundnuts to the fry pan & dry roast it, after about a minute add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, dried red chilli’s & sesame seeds. Don’t let them burn, keep tossing them around till the groundnuts begin to pop around. Turn off the heat & let it cool down to room temperature.
Now grind the dry roasted ingredients along with the grated coconut, tamarind, jaggery & salt to taste. Add about 50 ml of water to help you grind these ingredients into a coarse paste.
Now, wash the brinjal. Don’t throw away the stem. Take each brinjal & make 2 slits starting from the bottom till the stem, the cuts should look like a cross, as shown.
Make sure you don’t cut the brinjal into pieces though. Now stuff the freshly prepared paste into the brinjal carefully, in between the slits. Keep the extra paste aside for use later on.
Now, heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan. When the oil is hot, set heat to medium, add asafoetida & let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Now add the mustard seeds & let them sizzle, next add the curry leaves & sauté them for a couple of seconds. Now add the finely chopped onions along with a pinch of salt & sauté them till they turn translucent. Transfer the stuffed brinjal’s into the fry pan, cover & cook for around 5 minutes till they get lightly roasted. For even roasting toss them around every couple of minutes.
When they are evenly roasted, add the paste left, add around 200 ml water & a bit of salt, simmer, cover & cook till the curry reaches a nice thick consistency & the brinjal is cooked. But keep an eye as there are chances that the water may evaporate quick, resulting in the curry starting to burn from the bottom.
Serve hot with Jolada rotti/chapatis’. You may also eat this along with some Akki Rotti.
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