Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eggplant Chettinad "Chettinad Kathirikaai Kara Kuzhambhu", the Phoenix Post??

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What should I call this post? A re-post?? A Phoenix post or The return of the Vanishing post? I think calling this a re-post is appropriate since it did come back with my intervention. No thanks to you Blogger! For new peeps who don't know what I am talking about, this post was initially posted about a week ago and it was cruelly/mercilessly Finished-off/Finito/Remato when Blogger was taken down for some major house-keeping and has been MIA since then. I was wishing and hoping for its comeback but it didn't happen. So I aided in its coming back. Are we clear?
Question to all you mommy peeps - what did you do, what did you get and where did you go out for lunch/dinner on Mother's Day? My day started off with my son coming to wish me shyly and to give me a bear-hug. That was the best part. Breakfast was a quick affair since we had to hit the road to visit my mom, sister and aunt. The menfolk decided that us ladies need to be taken to one of the finest South Indian Specialty Restaurant in town..After a lengthy debate we unanimously decided to go "Anjappar Chettinad" in North Brunswick, NJ. Since it was Mother's day and all, it was first come first serve basis which meant that we had to wait for the tables. Even though we anticipated a wait, we didn't expect to wait nearly an hour to get tables for twelve of us. By then I was so hungry I could have eaten a horse. Even my fussy son asked me if he could have some food. Me and hubby were taken aback at that request, in a pleasant way of-course! The menu card was scanned in a hurry-burry and a few appetizers were selected to whet our appetites. Seriously, our appetites were overworked as it was, we were ready to dive into the main course but we had to order the appetizers since our Entree` was going to take a while to be made.
So here is what I 'sampled' at Anjappar: Appetizers(Chicken 65, Gobi 65, Chicken Lollipop), Main dish(Flaky Parotta with Naatu Kozhi Kuzhambhu "Free Range Chicken Gravy", Mutton Biryani, Fish Biryani Chicken Biryani with Raita and Tamarind-y side), Dessert(Mango Lassi). After indulging in a healthy dose of gluttony, I proclaim Chicken 65,  "Parotta" and "Mutton Biryani" as the winner(s) cause they certainly tickled my taste-buds. So anyone in the vicinity of North Brunswick, NJ definitely check out this restaurant. You will be thanking me for pointing to you this little gem of a place.
So what did I get for Mother's Day? Nothing yet but my hubby decided to get me the 5Qt Artisan Retro-styled Kitchen-Aid Stand mixer in whatever color I choose. I bet it will be well worth the wait. :-). Don't you think so? With so many colors to choose from, I am spoiled for choice! If money or space wasn't an issue I would want one of each. Talk about greedy! LoL.
Update: Well, its been a week since I wrote that. I eventually did choose my KA in a color of my liking and even had it delivered from Macy's yesterday. Heads-up: My next post is going to be all about my new Kitchen-aid. You will know the color, name and how pretty she is etc etc.
Anyways, here is something relevant to the post:: So What is Chettinad Cuisine?I have briefly mentioned about this cuisine in my "Chettinad Chicken Chukka" post. Check it out if you are curious! Base recipe is from here.
  • 24 Small purple or Thai green Eggplants
  • 1 Golf-ball sized Tamarind, cleaned and soaked in warm water
  • 3-4 Tbsp Canola Oil
For the Masala Powder:
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Red Lentils
  • 2 Tbsp Split Chickpea "Bengal Gram"
  • 3 Dry Red Chilies
  • 2 Tbsp White Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaves
For the Masala Paste (Masala powder + other ingredients, will be used as Stuffing):
  • 1 Recipe "Masala Powder" (the one above)
  • 3 Tbsp Grated Coconut
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Little water to make a "Thick" paste
For the Base Gravy:
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Green Chili, vertically slit
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • Make the "Masala Powder": Add the Bengal Gram, Red Lentil, Coriander Seeds, Dry Red Chili, Sesame Seeds (in the order mentioned) to pan in 1 minute intervals and dry fry them until they start emitting aroma. Add the curry leaves at the end and switch off the stove.
    • Cool the ingredients and grind them to a fine powder.
    • Make the Masala Paste: To the blender that has the "Masala Powder", add grated coconut, turmeric powder and little water. Grind it to a thick paste. This is the paste that will be used to stuff inside the eggplants.
    • Add a tbsp of oil the a french skillet and fry the onions. Once the onion is browned, add the slit green chili to the pan. Fry for a minute or so.
    • Throw the chopped tomatoes to the pan and fry until the tomatoes start to shrink. Move this mixture to a plate and let it cool completely.
    • Meanwhile quarter the eggplants, keeping the crown intact. Stuff 1/2 tsp of "Masala Paste" into the eggplants carefully using fingers.
    • Add a tbsp of oil to the pan and brown the eggplants for 3-4 minutes in high heat constantly and gently moving them about the pan. Remove the eggplants to a plate.
    • Grind the fried "Onion-Tomato-Chili" mixture with little water.
    • Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil to the skillet, pour the ground mixture and bring to a boil with little water for 5 minutes. Add the leftover "stuffing mixture/masala paste" to the pan(there definitely will be leftovers).
    • Extract thick pulpy juice from the Tamarind with 1 Cup water. Discard the pith and seeds. Pour the tamarind juice into the pan and add 1/2 cup water or so. Add salt and additional chili powder, if you need a spicier version. Drop the eggplants gently into the gravy.
    • Lid the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the eggplants are soft but retaining the shape and the gravy is relatively thickened.
    • Spoon the "Eggplant Chettinad" over hot steaming rice and serve it with a mild (dry) curry (one that doesn't overpower this prep) and boiled egg.
    •  Make Ahead Pointers: Both the Masala Powder and Masala Paste can be made a day in advance to cut back on the lengthy preparation time, which is what I always do.

    Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing BM#5:
    Curry in a hurry under 30 min: Cool Lassi(e), Harini, Kalyani, Priya Mahadevan, Suma
    Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special: Priya Suresh, Veena,
    Seven Days of Indian Sweets: Shylaja, Srivalli
    Seven Days of Regional Specials: Priya Yallapantula
    Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast:Aarthi, Vaishali
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    1. WOW mouthwatering curry....Pictures look great..I want it now

    2. I am salivating reading your order at Anjappar and your platter of eggplant chettinad isn't helping either.. :)

      Very appetizing kuzhambhu

    3. That looks fiercely delicious ~ what a great combo of flavors/ingredients!
      US Masala

    4. good one..but I rarely cook eggplants as I am allergic to them.

    5. Eggplant chettinad is one of those dishes that always catches my interest! If only I could find those cute eggplants!

    6. Pass me that plate please!!! Love chettinad cuisine..Looks so perfect n yummy!!

    7. ம்ம் படத்தை பார்க்கும்போது நாவூறுது...

    8. I love chettinaad foods..Thanks for this recipe

    9. You can check my blog i have a recipe for chettinaad potato...

    10. Hey CL: Love this version of Chettinad eggplant curry.. reminds me of the food I had in Coimbatore long ago ! Can smell the masala too !

    11. I love the chettinad process and gravy ingredients. I know it is mainly for meats, but veggies would taste great too in that gravy :)

    12. Omg, chettinad kuzhambu simply looks out of the world, salivating here..

    13. How tempting!!! Love the angle the capture displays..... Drool worthy.... :)


    14. I'm a big eggplant fan and this Chettinad curry is making me drool. Yumm.
      So finally which color did you pick for your kitchenaid. I'm curious now and waiting to see the baked goodies.

    15. Omg..looks amazing..made me hungry like anything..pass on the plate :)

    16. i used to frequent the anjappar in chennai and used to love it:)
      that meal u had there just made me drool

    17. wow...can't stop eating this kulambu...Looks so tempting...We too went to anjappar last week...

    18. Wow! That is an overload of food alright!the funny coincidence is the gift and the dilemma over the colors... which one did you pick? I just loved so many colors it was hard for me to choose. I am debating between the orange and the green or staid stainless steel to fit in with the rest of the kitchen appliances :)
      I think lime green may win!
      And since I've been visiting your blog only after the marathons, I have only seen veggie posts on your blog - no idea you are a meat eater :)
      I am sure if your veggie recipes are anything to go by, your non-veg ones are super duper too :) Cheers, priya

    19. @Priya: Still deciding over the colors. Right now shortlisted to Empire red, Cobalt Blue, Gloss Cinnamon and Boysenberry.. Don't be surprised if I end up buying in some other color. LoL

    20. That looks sooo yummy! Yet to visit that place.

    21. The recent glitch in the Blogger system was a real bummer. But I was lucky not to miss any post apart from a few comments.

      Anyways, I so love all the flavors in chettinad cuisine. The curry looks mouthwatering!

    22. I remember typing comment for this post ;)...
      I came to know about the blogger issue so late , after a day may be, even long after my post disappeared..hahhaha...

      Curry looks so tempting..chettinad is always a fav!!!yumm!!

    23. ohhh my i'm drooling over the whole spread and chettinad cuisine is awesome always

    24. Curry just looks awesome...Will surely try this

    25. Hi, Just made this tonight for dinner we all loved it, just made a few changes, nothing major, and we all just loved it, thanks for sharing, I love chettinad cuisine, it was brilliant and it was awesome.


    Thanks a bunch for your valuable comments and continued support.They are very much appreciated. Yes,like "Rain on Dry Land" and like "Oasis in Desert Sand".
    XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)