Simple brinjal stir fry cooked with onions to have as a side to South Indian rice dishes.
Many people I know despise brinjal (or eggplant). I don’t really get it. I particularly love this version of a brinjal stir fry because it pairs up really well with rice and sambar / rasam / curd. Of course, if you’re a fan of mildly spiced vegetables with a south Indian spin on flavors, then you could eat this with pretty much anything else (bread / roti / rice etc.)
Prepping the brinjal / eggplant is easy. Make sure you use fresh produce, as that is the best possible way to avoid bitter eggplants. There is really no other universal way of knowing if your eggplants are bitter or not. The older an eggplant gets, meaning the more time that’s passed since harvesting, the more bitter it becomes. Another trick I’ve found works is to soak the sliced pieces in warm salted water for 10-15 minutes.
South Indian Brinjal Stir Fry Printable Recipe
- 8-10 medium sized ripe Brinjal / Eggplant
- 1 Onion, sliced thinly
- 4-5 Tablepoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 teaspoon black Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Urad Dal (split black gram)
- 1 teaspoon Asafetida powder (hing)
- 2 teaspoons Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1-2 teaspooons Red Chilli Powder
- If you cook in a non stick pan, 4 tablespoons oil is enough. If you're using an iron wok, you may need a bit more to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the wok
- Wash the brinjal. Cut off the stems. Fill a vessel with tap water.
- Slice the eggplant length-wise; Cut each half into 4-6 cubes of 1-2 inches each
- If the pieces are too large, they will take a long time to cook. If too tiny, they will turn into a mush.
- Add the chopped pieces in the bowl with water. This stops the brinjal from browning too much.
- Heat oil in a non stick pan or wok. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add urad dal and asafetida and fry for 20 seconds.
- Drain out the water completely and add the brinjal cubes into the pan. Mix everything so that the oil is coating every cube.
- Place the stove on medium low flame and close the pan with a lid. Every 2-3 minutes, open the lid and stir the brinjal cubes. This ensures even cooking and also prevents pieces at the bottom sticking to the pan.
- At about 5-6th minute mark when the brinjal is half-cooked, add the salt and onion and mix well. Continue to cook with the lid closed. Stir every 2-3 minutes.
- When the brinjal / eggplant is almost cooked (around 10 minutes), add the red chilli powder and mix well. Stir fry for another 3-4 minutes. Switch off the flame.
- Serve as required. This tastes best with south Indian dishes.
South Indian Brinjal Stir Fry Recipe – step by step pictures
To prep: slice off the stem. Cut it into around 1-2 inch cubes (or however you like. Make sure the slices aren’t too thin, or they’ll become a mush while cooking. And if the cubes are too big, they will take a long time to cook)
As and when you chop each brinjal / eggplant, place the slices in warm tap water. This stops the cubes from browning too much. Also slice some onions.
In a wok / non stick pan with high sides, heat 4 tablespoons of oil. At mustard seeds; when they start to splutter, add urad dal and asafetida powder. Fry for 20 seconds.
Add the chopped brinjal cubes and mix well so that the oil coats all the chopped cubes. Place the stove on medium flame and close the pan with a lid (this speeds up the cooking process). Every 2 minutes, remove the lid and stir the brinjal ever so gently. This prevents the cubes at the bottom of the pan from burning and ensure all the cubes are equally cooked.
When the brinjal is half-cooked, remove the lid and add salt, onion slices and mix well. It will take almost 10-15 minutes (depending on the quantity) for the brinjal to fully cook through.
When the brinjal is almost cooked, remove and add red chilli powder and mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning, if required. Switch off the flame.
Serve with your favorite rice dish!