Saturday, 27 September 2014

Brinjal-Onion Kothsu (கத்தரிக்காய் வெங்காய கொத்சு)


Brinjal onion kothsu (கத்தரிக்காய்  வெங்காய கொத்சு) is made as an accompaniment to ‘kudalai idly’ (குடலை இட்லி) or ‘Kanchipuram idly’ (காஞ்சிபுரம் இட்லி). Kothsu is a tamarind based gravy, made with roasted brinjals/eggplants. Select fresh, large purple brinjals for making kothsu. My grandmother used to roast brinjal on a charcoal oven, which ensures uniform cooking of the vegetable. Roasted brinjal has a slight smoky taste and nice aroma. Brinjal kothsu made with onions tastes slightly different from traditional kothsu. 

Ingredients: (Serves three)
Brinjal/eggplant – medium sized, 3 no
Tamarind – the size of a small gooseberry (அரிநெல்லிக்காய்)
Shallots – peeled, 8-10no, chopped finely
Sambar powder – 2 teaspoons
Oil – 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Split urad dhal – ½ teaspoon 
Jaggery ½ teaspoon (optional) 
Salt – to taste
Curry leaves – a few

Method:  Wash and dry the brinjals. Cut off the stalks. Smear oil on the surface. Use a fork or skewer to prick the stalk end of the brinjal. This helps you to hold brinjal while roasting. Place the brinjal on medium flame and roast on direct fire (Fig.1). 

Fig.1: Roasting brinjal (eggplant) on fire
Keep turning the vegetable till the skin is completely burnt. Roast all the brinjals in the same manner and allow them to cool (Fig.2). Once cool, peel the skin and mash the roasted brinjals and keep aside.
Peel and chop the shallots. Keep aside.

Fig.2: Roasted brinjals/eggplants
Soak tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Later squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice. Add sambar powder, jaggery and salt to tamarind juice. Mix well. 

Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds and once they start to sputter, add urad dhal. Fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Add chopped shallots and fry till they become transparent. Add roasted brinjal and cook for a while. Now add the tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. Reduce the fire and simmer for 2 minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with kudalai idly.

Brinjal Kothsu (கத்தரிக்காய் வெங்காய கொத்சு)
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