Tuesday, March 16, 2010

వంకాయ- అల్లం పచ్చిమిరపకాయ: Vankáya Allam Pacchimirapakáya- Aubergine with Ginger & Green Chilli

Serves: Two. Preparation time: 30 minutes. 

7 small round aubergines (Eggplant/Brinjal, Baingan, Vankáya)
4 Green chillies
1 inch Ginger (Adrak, Allam)
1 tsp split Chickpeas (Chana dalSenagapappu)
1 tsp split black gram (Urad dalMinappappu)
1 tsp Mustard Seeds (RaiAvalu)
1/2 tsp Turmeric (Haldi, Pasupu)
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (Heeng, Inguva)
3 Curry leaves (KadipattaKaruvepáku)
1 tsp Tamarind paste
1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
4 stems Cilantro (Kotimeer)
1 tbsp oil

1. Chop green chillies and ginger, pound into a paste using a mortar & pestle (or a mixer), set aside.
2. Quarter aubergines and set aside. (You may use any other variety if small round ones are not available, chop into 2" pieces.) 
3. Heat oil to medium hot. Add Minappappu & Senagapappu. When they brown, add Mustard seeds, Asafoetida, Turmeric. When mustard seeds splutter, add the Ginger-green chilli paste and curry leaves. Let the paste fry for a minute.
4. Mix in the aubergines and salt. Cover and cook. You may add 2 tsps of water if needed (Aubergines generally go soft very easily and do not need water).
5. Uncover and stir every 4 minutes. Cook until the flesh turns moist with a translucent hue and the skin discolours (greenish grey/brown black), around 10 to 15 minutes. 
6. Add tamarind paste when almost done. 
7. Garnish with chopped Cilantro after it is done.  
    Serve with fresh hot rice. Pairs very well with Chapati.

1. Chopped aubergines turn dark brown/black due to oxidation. Hence, chop them just before you begin heating the oil. Alternatively, immerse them in salt water to prevent oxidation.
2. Some recipes do not use Tamarind paste.  
3. Some recipes instruct to add the ginger-green chilli paste right at the end before turning off the heat. 
4. Green chillies may be adjusted according to taste. Use less if they are fiery, use more if mild. 
5. Manual pounding with a mortar-pestle lends a unique texture to the ginger-green chilli paste. If using an electric mixer/grinder, you may need to add a few drops of water. 
6. The traditional recipe demands lot of oil. However, a healthier version can be made by first roasting/microwaving the aubergines and then frying with less oil. My raw aubergines are brownish as they are pre-roasted. 
7. This same recipe can be replicated with Cluster beans (Guar, Goru chikkudu kaaya) & Jaggery instead of Aubergines. 

Refer to Manju pinni's Vankáya Mudda Koora recipe for an alternate version. 

Culture & Health
Aubergine, Brinjal, EggplantSolanum melongen-  is native to India and hence extensively used in Indian cuisine. India is the world's largest producer after China. Its flesh absorbs oil & spice so beautifully that every cook loves to experiment with aubergine. 
Eggplant helps to block the formation of free radicals and is a rich source of folic acid & potassium. Unfortunately, those are the only good lines on dear aubergine. 
Aubergines are richer in Nicotine than any other edible plant. They are rich in Histamines and commonly lead to allergic reactions upon consumption (almost 10 % of the Indian population was allergic according to a study). They are classified as a 'Visham' (Poison) in Ayurveda & Yoga/Pranayama, a food full of negative energy, to be avoided like meat/garlic/onion! Homeopaths advise against consumption of aubergine when on homeopathic medication. 
Jains do not consume Aubergine as it is full of seeds, a seed is a capsule of potential life, hence consumption is against Jaina dharma's Ahimsa principle. 

For all aubergine lovers, I am so sorry, why are most yummy things bad for health? I tasted aubergine last week after over 7 long years, and my my, I think I love it! 
This is another Chivukula favourite. Krishna's favourite, Sudhakar uncle's favourite, Anji uncle's favourite, who else is in love with this yummy Visham
This is my mom-in-law (Indira aunty)'s recipe. Kameshwari didi says that whenever Indira aunty made this at home, it was usually clubbed with Menthi Majjiga or Majjiga pulusu as all these recipes use ginger-green chilli paste. 


  1. I just realised, Manju pinni's already put it under "Vankaaya mudda koora", it is similar but not same. So should I delete this one?

  2. Looks yummy!! ...I think you should not delete this :)