Ennai Kathrikai – A Recipe

Before I even start, let me tell you, that this is my version of the original, and may have you gasping with outrage to see how I’ve modified it. It is quite different from the orginal recipe. Also the pics are all bad quality phone pics. So please adjust ;)

I had never come across this dish until early 2013. The time I was in India, husband had persuaded me to keep a cook for the duration that he was there on holiday. Once he left, it made sense to have her as she was that good. Actually, I just got lazy, but let’s ignore that for a moment. So one day, she said she would make me something special. That something special was this. I had never had it before and it was lipsmackling, fingerlicking delicious. Albeit, with a lot of ennai (oil). When I mentioned this to my cook, she chided me with, ‘What Akka, ennai kathrikai will have some ennai, no?’.

Couldn’t argue with that. So until we left Bangalore, this featured quite a few times on the menu. Each time just as delicious.

When we relocated back here, I tried it out for myself. Husband hadn’t had it while in India so it was an interesting new thing to try. He loved it too, but he ate only the gravy. The baby aubergines were left untouched. Which is when I had this lightbulb moment. I decided to combine two different dishes into one. Bengali Begun Bhaja with the Tamilian Ennai Kathrikai. National integration, wouldn’t you agree :) And this process reduces the time taken to cook too.

So here’s how I make it.

1 medium sized aubergine (not the baby aubergines that are traditionally used)
2 medium sized onions
2 medium sized tomatoes
Handful of curry leaves
3 Garlic cloves (I realise as I type that I forgot this completely)
1 inch ginger
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tsp coriander powder
3-4 red chillies or the equivalent of chilli powder
Mustard seeds and whole black pepper to temper.
Salt to taste
Tamarind paste, a little to taste.


Slice the aubergines into nice thin slices. Rub some salt, red chilli powder and turmeric into them. Or if you are lazy like me, just pop them all into a bowl, clip it shut and give it a nice shake. Keep aside.


Heat a little oil in a pan. Chop onions into cubes. Once hot, throw in the chopped onions.
Let it cook until translucent.


Then add the ginger, garlic and red chillies.
Cook for a further two minutes.
Add the two tablespoons of coconut, saute for about a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cover. Cook until the tomatoes are nice and done.


While the tomatoes are cooking, spray some oil onto a baking tray and line up the marinated aubergines.

Bake in the oven at about 180 deg for 10 mins each side, or until nice and crisp. I got a little tired and didn’t bake it as much as I do normally.

Once the onion tomato coconut mixture has cooled down, whiz it in the blender, until nice and smooth.

Take a pan, add a little oil, pop the mustard seeds in, once they start sputtering, add the whole black pepper and then the blended gravy.

Add the salt, turmeric, coriander powder, and cover and cook for another 10 mins on low heat. I add some turmeric, but it might not be necessary if the gravy is already sour. I know jaggery is added, but I don’t add it. The coconut gives it a sweetish flavour, which is enough for us. If the aubergines are ready pop them into the gravy, cook for another two minutes and its done.

We love it with just plain rice. It is great with lemon rice! I wish I had taken a proper picture after it was done, but I was completely knackered. It tasted absolutely great though. This is one of the few curries I haven’t managed to mess up. Yet.

Day 31: An election that counts

This was not what I planned for the last post of the blog marathon. Funnily enough, this blog marathon hasn’t been as tough as the others so far. I’ve been having loads of ideas, the only problem was getting the time to jot it all down.

Anyway, as I said, this wasn’t what I had planned. I had planned a nice, ‘it’s been so much fun doing this blog marathon’ post. Also, this one is extra special, as this has been the only blog marathon, apart from that photo a day challenge, that I have actually completed. I normally fall off somewhere. Not this time, clearly. Maybe I should just do this, chose the busiest time of the year and do a blogathon. It was such a fun ride. I didn’t comment on posts, as much as I would have liked to, or read as much as I would have liked to, but still enjoyed it thoroughly. So thank you, Seema, for roping me in :)

Getting on to the topic I wanted to discuss. Delhi elections. I’ve been a sporadic follower of events. I’ve been reading stuff off and on. My sympathies (and my vote, if I were eligible) are completely with the Aam Aadmi Party.

They have released their manifesto today, and it is such a thought out manifesto. So many points had me nodding away. Who wouldn’t vote for a party like this, I thought. But I am wrong. So many wouldn’t.

Why? Now that is something I can’t figure out. Why are we fine with voting in career politicians who have done little or nothing in all the years of being in power? Why do we jump on Kejriwal and demand explanations for all sorts of things? Let me clarify here, there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding politicians accountable and asking them for explanations. What makes me wonder is that the nobody seems to be holding a BJP or a Congress to the same standards. It is almost as if they have got some holy exemption on the grounds of having been in politics for long.

The vitriol against AAP also makes me wonder why BJP, for instance, is so worried that AAP might win. The only reason is that they know that they will be forced to be more accountable. They wouldn’t be in a position to line their pockets as much as they could. They wouldn’t be able to get away with doing nothing. That to me is the biggest reason AAP has to win the Delhi elections. We need an honest party, we need someone to keep the mainstream politicians in check, we need a party that is accountable. Hopefully, one day, all parties will be forced to the same high standards.

If they lose, we are in danger of losing the last chance of having an alternative. I’m not saying that AAP is the epitome of all things good, but I do think that they mean better than other parties. They have less at stake.

And all those who say, ‘Kejriwal was given a chance’, all I ask is, why are we so reluctant to give them another chance while we happily give BJP and Congress chances after chances.

I’ve got my fingers crossed (and toes). I do hope Aam Aadmi Party wins. Even if they don’t, I hope they get a sizeable number to make a strong opposition. And I hope that us, the people of India, question what our media, our politicians feed us and make a decision that will actually make a difference in our lives.

Friday Finds (30 Jan)


Day 30 post on the book blog.

Also apologies for not having responded to comments on previous posts. I promise, that’s on my ever-so-long weekend to-do list.

Originally posted on Any Excuse To Read:

Friday Finds are hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading.


FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! 

Here are my Friday Finds




Can’t wait to start reading them! Sometimes, I pick up books that interest me slightly less, to prolong the excitement of reading a book I am truly excited about. A little bit like leaving the food you like the most, till the very end. Anybody else do that or is it just me?

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Day 29: It’s all about food!

I’ve seen Srividhya’s tag  going around and had been planning to use it. One day. Today is that day. Desperate times. When I don’t have the energy to think. Actually yesterday was the same but I remembered something that I could make into a post. And given that we are this close to completing the Marathon, I would hate to give up now.

So here we go.

1.What is the first dish that you cooked?

Ooh! That’s a tough one. I think it was boiled eggs. Once my friends and I had a picnic. We used to live in a set of terraced houses and the end of the line of houses was a club house sort of place. It was a house which was used as a club, to be more accurate. And after they had some functions there, I vaguely remember that there were some sort of cooking stove, left behind. I can’t even remember what or how, but I remember my friends and I boiling eggs and making Maggi. I must have been around 13-14, and I do think my contribution must not have extended beyond shelling the eggs. But still, it counts, doesn’t it. I do remember us being super excited about it :)

2.What is the first dish that you cooked for your better half? (If you are not married, you can tell us what you are planning to cook for him/her)?

I can’t remember what I first made for husband, but can assure you that whatever I made was definitely a complete disaster. I was a horrible cook. Not that I’m any good now, but at least it is marginally edible now :)

3.Which food were you reserved to try first but then liked later it since you acquired the taste?

Chicken. My family is a little different. My mum is a non-vegetarian but my dad is a vegetarian. He had no problem with us having non-veg, but it was quite rare for us to have non-veg at home. When we were little, it was mainly when we went to my grandparents place in Wayanad that we had non-veg. Mainly chicken. Now, I would never eat it. For the longest time, I refused to touch it. Until I became friends with a girl called M. She used to describe chicken with such detail that I had to try. Absolutely had to try. And once I tried it, I fell in love with the taste.

4.What is your comfort food?

Anything at all that Amma makes. And if that is not an option, Dosa with chutney.

5.Which dish of yours you like the best?

I adore my version of ennai kathrikai.

6.Which dish of yours your family likes the best?

Daughter loves her green curry. That’s my secret curry which allows me to sneak in all sorts of vegetables.

Husband loves my coconut chutney, my dosas and rava dosa at this point in time.

7.What is your favorite street food?

Chaats and golgappas in Jamshedpur. Nothing, absolutely nothing comes close.

8.Tell us about any of your kitchen disaster story.

Now here’s a question I can answer with aplomb. I can just walk into the kitchen and create a disaster. You can read about how efficient I am here and here and here.
And if you are still not satisfied, let me tell what I’ve managed to do just the other day. I’ve managed to mess up my Dosa batter. Big time. Something has gone wrong with it. It is stinking instead of having that lovely smell of fermented batter.

9.Any one or two food confessions ;-) ;-)

I hate sweet in savoury dishes. Even in chaats, I’m not too fond of the sweet chutney.

I love salads. Almost all sorts of salads.

I can’t stop eating some sort of snacks, like biscotti for instance.

10.Apart from basic stuff, like milk, yogurt, veggies what you have in your fridge or in pantry? (Name any 3 items)

1. Hummous
2. Pita bread
3. Desiccated coconut

11.Any food related or cooking resolutions for this year?

I don’t do resolutions but I’m always trying to eat lunch on time and carry healthy snacks to work. And carry lunch if possible. And to avoid sweets.

12.In our custom when you goto Kasi, you need to give up one of your favorite veggie and fruit. So you cannot eat that veggie or fruit from then on. Which one you would you give up? (It should be your favorite one)

Oh dear me! I would just give up this tradition ;)

13.You need to prepare a 3 course meal for a party? What dishes will be there in your menu?

Aloo tikki chaat / panirayams with peanut chutney

Pulav/Jeera rice/lemon rice with methi malai mutter/ennai kathrikai/ dal makhani/ Kerala style egg curry

Store bought naans

Tiramisu or a Tres Leches cake for dessert.

And I’m done! I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed doing this tag!

Teaser Tuesdays 3


Day 27 post on the book blog.

Originally posted on Any Excuse To Read:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s my teaser

Indu did not like everything changing around her. It was like being on a merry-go-round from which you couldn’t get off. First, Achan had left her and Mani and gone off to jail; this was bad enough. Why did he have to do things that other children’s fathers did not do? And now Devi was acting strangely…

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Musing Mondays 3


Day 26 post on the book blog.

Originally posted on Any Excuse To Read:

Musing Mondays are hosted by Miz B.


Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading Shards of Sunlight by Anand Nair.

Shards of Sunlight is a coming-of-age novel that follows Indu’s life as she negotiates the hard, traditional world of her extended family. Although Indu’s father is considered a local hero within her community, the harassment she faces from the police only makes her life harder. To make things worse, Indu and Mani soon find that they are vulnerable to predators from both within…

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Book Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult


Day 25 post on the book blog

Originally posted on Any Excuse To Read:


Jodi Picoult has always been one of my favourite authors. I love the way she handles subjects. She has a wonderful style of keeping you in the dark until the very end. Even if you do get an inkling of where the story is going, she manages to pack such a punch, that I find her books irresistible.

Two mini e-books (When There’s Smoke and Larger than Life) were available on Amazon as a prologue to this book. I read When There’s Smoke a while back. I had Larger than life downloaded for ages before I started reading it in December. After reading that book, I couldn’t resist buying Leaving Time and reading it right away.

For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing…

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Day 24: Guest Post – A book by Daughter

We have a budding writer in our family. Daughter. She has been writing books, chapters and all. Me, being the lazy me, haven’t typed it out to showcase her writing. Today, she has been adding a new book to the popular ‘Malory Towers’ series by Enid Blyton.Here is what she has written so far.  So over to her.

Bluebell at Malory Towers

Chapter 1: New Arrivals

“Come on, Come on”, shrieked Felicity Rivers to her best friend Susan while running to the Malory Towers train.

“The train is here!”

Susan said, ” I can’t wait to back and see June, Freddie, Nora, Pam and everybody else.”

“I wonder if we have any new girls in our form this term”, said Felicity.

Suddenly two very familiar figures leapt out of the train. It was June and Freddie.

” Seen any new girls?”, calls Susan to June.

“Sure have,” said June grinning, ” Meet Bluebell and her twin sister Buttercup”, and out came the twins, one gracefully, the other leaping out enthusiastically.

“This is Felicity and Susan,” said Freddie to the twins.

To be Continued….

P.S. She has also created a ‘cover’ but refuses to let me photograph it.

Day 23: A Govt of ‘Ram Bhakts’

I haven’t written about politics much recently. More often than not, by the time I read something, it is already old news.

Today, husband was watching the news and I saw this news being aired.

Apparently this is the logic for commissioning this road.

According to the epic “Ramayana”, Lord Rama took this route to reach the Chitrakoot forest to serve an exile of fourteen years after abandoning his claim to Kosala’s throne. 

This is a government of ‘Ram bhakts’, government of those who shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. Hence I promise you that Ram Van Gaman Marg will also be upgraded to a national highway

I was gobsmacked. So we now have a government of ‘Ram Bhakts’! And not just that, we will build roads based on a religious text. So many things wrong with this!

Why would you bring religion so blatantly into policy making? Surely making roads should be based on need of the moment and not to satisfy some religious sentiments. Make roads, we all know that there are plenty of roads that are crying out for being made/repaired, but why, why, why add a religious angle to it?

Secondly, why would you say something being a ‘govt of Ram Bhakts’, or of people who shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ when we are a secular country. I wonder how it feels to people of other faiths when my blood boils, despite the fact that I am a Hindu by faith. And even being a Hindu doesn’t make you an automatic ‘Ram Bhakt’! But some people will never understand this!

Thirdly, it worries me. Like Maya said in this post. It is worrying that this govt seems to be turning a blind eye to so many ‘fringe elements’, be it people demanding bans of books or people asking Hindu women to have 4 children. The fact that these so called fringe elements seem to have become empowered to come out and speak with authority is worrying, at least for me.

At least if it had been just the fringe elements, it would have been tolerable, but today it is a Union Minister, who says this. This for me, has reached a whole new level.