Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry| Brinjal Stir-Fry With Freshly Ground Spices

Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry, a heritage dish from Tamilnadu, is what we are going to talk about in today’s post.

What is Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry?

It refers to an eggplant stir-fry made using a freshly ground spice mix. The eggplants aka brinjals (‘kathrikkai in Tamil) are first sauteed in sesame oil, after which a few spices are roasted, ground (the ‘podi’) and added in – this takes the fragrance and flavour of the curry to new heights! I am not a huge fan of eggplant in curries, but this one is one of my eternal favourites! ❤️

Just how pretty do these long purple eggplants look?!

This curry is a big favourite at my place, with rice and sambar or rasam. My mom is an expert at making Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry and, today, I am sharing her way of making this dish. Trust me, this is a real beauty – you must try it out.

#SideKaKamaal at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #SideKaKamaal, wherein the group members are showcasing different types of side dishes for rotis and/or rice.

Priya Vijaykrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty suggested the theme for this week. Her blog is a treasure house of heritage recipes from Tamilnadu, kid-friendly foods, and various dishes from international cuisines. I’m loving the look of the Chou Chou Kadalai Paruppu Kootu she has presented for the theme, a traditional Tamilnadu-style curry made using chayote and lentils. On my list of things to try out!


Here is how we make it. It is a simple recipe, prepared on the lines of the Vazhakkai Podi Potta Curry that I had shared some time ago.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 8-9 long eggplants
2. 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons oil
3. 3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
4. 3-4 dry red chillies
5. 3/4 tablespoon urad dal
6. 1-1/2 tablespoons chana dal
7.A small piece of tamarind
8.1 teaspoon mustard seeds
9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
10. 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
11. Salt to taste
12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top left: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Steps 4 and 5

1. Remove the tops from the brinjals. Chop them into small pieces.

2. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for 15-20 minutes.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the coriander seeds, dry red chillies, urad dal and chana dal. Roast on medium flame till the ingredients turn fragrant and the dal starts changing colour. This should take about 2 minutes. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow the roasted ingredients to cool down fully.

4. When the soaked tamarind has softened, extract a thick paste from it.

5. Once the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, grind them together to a fine powder in a small mixer jar. Do not add any water.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 10 and 11

6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped brinjal to the pan.  Now, add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Turn the flame down to medium.

8. Cook covered on medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till the brinjal is completely cooked. Uncover in between to stir, and sprinkle very little water if required.

9. When the brinjal is cooked through, add the tamarind paste. Keep the flame medium. Mix well.

10. Now, add the spice powder we ground earlier, stirring constantly so that all of the brinjal is evenly coated with the powder.

11. Cook uncovered on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes, stirring intermittently. Your Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry is ready – serve warm or at room temperature with rice and sambar or rasam.

Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. However, it is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida (as most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour, to a greater or lesser extent). If you want to make this curry gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use good, fresh and firm brinjals without any holes in them.

2. Adjust the number of dry red chillies you use depending upon how spicy you want the curry to be. Here, I have used a mix of the very spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the not-so-hot Bydagi dry red chillies.

3. Sesame oil works best in this curry. However, in case you don’t have it, you may use coconut oil or any other oil of your preference.

4. Make sure the lentils and dry red chillies are well-roasted and have completely cooled down before grinding them. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn while roasting.

5. Make sure the brinjals are well cooked before adding in the freshly ground powder.

6. The tamarind is added to balance the slight bitterness that brinjals sometimes possess. Make sure the tamarind extract is thick and not watery.

7. I have used long, purple eggplants here. However, you may use any other variety you prefer.

8. Make sure all the pieces of eggplant are evenly coated with the spice powder.

9. You can grind the spice powder as fine or coarse as you prefer. We keep it mostly fine, with just a little bit of coarseness.

10. For best results, make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to make this curry.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

14 thoughts on “Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry| Brinjal Stir-Fry With Freshly Ground Spices

  1. The long purple brinjals look oh so gorgeous! I liked this simple stir fry using freshly ground spice mix with lentils and red chili powder. When I use tamarind pulp, there goes a dash of jaggery powder to balance the flavors amd cut down the mild bitter taste of eggplants. Will try your version soon as eggplants ate hot favourite at my place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathrikkai is hubby’s fav veggie and I am bookmarking ur recipe right away to try it soon ..the fresh podi recipe is really delectable and I can feel the aroma as we roast and grind it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your version of eggplants in South Indian flavors with freshly ground masala and tamarind . I will make a small batch for me only as it’s only me in the family who loves eggplants.. This looks so delectable and a great dish to pair with hot ajwain parathas.


  4. Kathrikkai podi potta curry is super delish and flavourful with all the freshly ground spices.One of my most favorite recipe with podi . Love this quick and easy recipe. I love the long tender purple brinjals.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this variety brinjal a lot, they are very tender and cooks very quickly. Liked your brinjal curry by adding podi. Also love to use this podi for filling, perfect side dish for rice and roti’s.


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