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Brinjal Curry (Vankaya Pachi Pulusu)
- Duration: 25 minutes
- Serves: 4 people
Spice Level: Medium
This is one of the very few Andhra dishes that uses the kadipatta (curry leaves) in limited quantities. Instead, the recipe prefers to add hara dhaniya (coriander) to accord a distinct flavour to the gud (jaggery) and imli (tamarind) combination. Remember to add the hara dhaniya only at the end and then to keep the dish aside for at least 10 minutes so as to allow the unique flavours to seep in well before serving.
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Vankaya Pachi Pulusu is a classic Andhra dish known for its unique mix of raw ingredients. From the imli (tamarind) pulp to the chopped onions to the gud (jaggery), nothing except the tadka is put over a fire while preparing this dish. A perennial favourite of coastal Andhra Pradesh, this dish shares its roots with the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, where it comes under the rasam (soup) category and is called Brinjal Rasam. Coastal Andhraites prefer to serve this dish with a combination of rice and dal or with a specially prepared arhar dal chutney called Kandi Pachadi.
- Brinjal (large sized) (1)
- Onion, finely chopped (1)
- Tamarind (Imli) pulp (of a lemon-sized ball)
- Green chillies (Hari mirch), finely chopped (2)
- Jaggery (Gud), grated (1½ tbsp)
- Coriander (Hara dhaniya), finely chopped (1 tbsp)
- Water (1½ cups)
- Salt (to taste)
- Dry red chilli (Sabut lal mirch), split and de-seeded (2)
- Black mustard seeds (Rai) (½ tsp)
- Cumin (Jeera) (½ tsp)
- Black gram (Urad dal) (½ tsp)
- Asafoetida (Hing) (¼ tsp)
- Garlic (Lahsun) pods, crushed (3)
- Curry leaves (Kadipatta) (12)
- Wash the brinjal and dry with a kitchen towel.
- Grease the brinjal's skin with oil and roast it over a low flame (like you would do for Baingan ka Bharta). Keep turning the brinjal over the flame so that it is evenly roasted.
- When its skin has blackened on all sides, take the brinjal off the flame, sprinkle water all over it, and leave it aside to cool.
- Once it has cooled down, peel the skin off the brinjal and mash the remaining pulp.
- Place this pulp in a bowl and add the chopped onions, hari mirch, imli pulp, gud, and salt. Mix thoroughly to get a thick paste.
- Next, add enough water to get a thin, fluid consistency. Keep a check on the gud and make sure that it dissolves completely.
- In a pan, heat the oil on a high flame. Add the rai in it and when they begin to splutter, add the jeera and the urad dal. Keep stirring till the dal turns brown.
- Add the sabut lal mirch, hing, lahsun, and kadipatta and sauté for about 10 seconds.
- Turn off the flame and immediately add this tadka to the brinjal-tamarind mixture. Whisk to combine the flavours.
- Check for the seasoning and garnish the dish with chopped hara dhaniya. Cover the curry and set it aside for about 10 minutes to let all the unique flavours seep in.
- Serve with hot steamed rice.