In which I go back to my (South Indian) roots
India being the huge country that it is, there is a lot of variation between people in different parts of it. That way you could almost call me mixed race. Or mixed culture at any rate. My parents belonged to widely varying parts of the country, and although I grew up in Calcutta in the heart of Bengalhood, I still have a South Indian heritage. I love the food at any rate! My South Indian father has been living here, in Calcutta, for the better part of the last 30 years and he misses the food. A lot. So I decided to give him a treat by cooking him something from his native state. The bonus would be that I would get to have it too! Yum.
Ennai Kathirikai or Andhra aubergine curry
4 small purple aubergines
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
10-12 curry leaves
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
2 teaspoons powdered red chillies
2 tablespoons powdered coriander
Cut the aubergines in to 2 inch pieces.
Make a paste of all the ingredients in section 1.
Now take all the ingredients in section 2 minus the curry leaves and powder them in the blender.
Take all the ingredients in section 3 and make a paste with 2 cups water. Be careful to take out the tamarind seeds.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven. Err on the side of generosity because aubergines soak up a lot of oil.
When the oil is hot, release the ground spices into it along with the curry leaves.
Fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Now add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and fry till the oil separates out.
Add the aubergine and coat thoroughly with the spice-onion mix. Fry till they change colour and shrink somewhat.
Now add the tamarind water and wait for it to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat till it comes to a gentle simmer.
Simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the water has evaporated and the gravy has thickened. Adjust seasonings.
Serve over a bed of hot rice.