Karamani-Kathrikkai Kootu (KKK!) / Eggplant-black eyed pea curry is something I learnt both from my mom and grandmom. Even though they made this separately on any given day, it used to be like a signature dish with both tasting exactly the same. I have tried making it today, and mom was very impressed – it met her exacting standards!
Adding whole legumes to vegetables is almost original to Karnataka cuisine – in the dry formats, you have Uppukari etc. Karamani (Tamil) is known as Alasandhe (Kannada) , Chawli / Lobia (Hindi) OR Alachandalu (Telugu). This curry goes well with hot steamed rice and ghee and is a very wonderful lunch box option for kids too. I remember grandmom mixing rice and this kootu with a dollop of ghee for lunchtime :-)
Soaking time for Beans / Karamani / Alasandhe Kaalu – 8 hours
· Eggplants / Kathrikkai / Badanekaayi – ¼ kg
· Karamani / Alasandhe – ¼ cup
· Oil- 1 tbsp
· Turmeric / Haldi – 1 tsp
· Salt – to taste
For the Masala
· Jeera / Cumin – 1 tsp
· Dry Coriander seeds – 1 ½ tbsp
· Red Chillies – 2 nos
· Hing – ½ tsp
· Raw rice – 1 tsp
· Tamarind – 1 lemon-sized
· Grated coconut – 4 tsp (if unavailable use 1 tbsp of grated dry coconut)
· Salt – to taste
· Oil – 1 tsp
· Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
· Coriander and curry leaves – chopped
1) Soak the beans overnight. Pressure cook with very little water and ½ tsp of salt for two whistles so the legumes are cooked but not mashy
2) In a pan, add 1 tsp of oil and fry all the masala ingredients one by one excluding the coconut.
3) Cool and grind the masala with coconut into a smooth paste.
4) In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, fry the eggplants sliced lengthwise (2 inch long).
5) Add turmeric and salt and cook covered on low flame without any water till eggplants are almost done
6) Add the ground masala and the cooked legumes now and stir well.
7) Check for salt and add 1- 2 cups of water and cover and cook for 10- 12 mins till the curry turns slightly thick.
8) Prepare the tempering with mustard and curry leaves + coriander and pour on the curry.
9) Serve hot with steamed rice and ghee
1) Use brinjals without any seeds. Bengaluru Badanekaayi (tender variety) is best for this. Cube the brinjals big or cut them lengthwise to get them evenly cooked. ‘Baingan-Bhartha’type brinjals are NOT suitable for this dish.
2) If you don’t have time to soak the beans, cook with ½ cup more water for 4 -5 whistles, although its best to soak them. That way they won’t become mushy