‘Enne Badhanekai’ means Egg plant in oil. Stuffed, colorful miniature egg plants are shallow fried in oil, and then tossed into a classic Karnataka style curry. There are a few variation to the masala though, Some do it with coconut, peanuts, and some with sesame. You may use red or green chilies to vary the colour and taste of the masala. Try it!
What I used: Serves 4
8 miniature egg plants
Whole garam masala (4-6 cloves,1 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 2 bay leaves, 1tsp fennel seeds)
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp cilantro seed powder
2 cups red onion diced
¼ cup white sesame seeds
3 tsp whole tamarind or 1 tsp tamarind paste
¼ cup dry coconut powder
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt to taste
Use a large, heavy-based pot. Over medium heat, add a tsp of oil. Toss the whole garam masala and pepper seeds. Toast for 2-3 minutes until aromatic. While they are toasting, add onion, and sesame seeds. After the sesame seeds turn golden brown, add the tamarind and dry coconut. Turn off the heat and let cool. Grind to a fine paste with the powders and salt.
After the egg plants are washed, Keep the stalk, and cut through the opposite side to make 2 halves, then four. Carefully scoop the ground masala paste in a spoon ad fill them into the middle of the egg plant and slightly press it, so it covers the crevices, and still holds. Repeat for the rest of the egg plants. Place them on a plate.
Back in the large pot, Add 1/4 cup oil, on medium-high heat, When it begins to smoke, gently place each stuffed egg plant and let them fry on all sides, slightly browning, turn them at regular intervals. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate.
To the same oil in the pan, add the ground masala paste. Let it simmer until all the raw smell disappears and the oil begins to separate. Gently assemble all the egg plants and turn down the heat, cook for 10-15 minutes covered on a low simmer. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve piping hot with steamed rice or chapathis and a light yogurt salad. Enjoy!