Category: Vankaya

Broad Beans with Baby Green Brinjals (Vankaya Chikkudu)

This is another dish I prepared with my winter broad bean harvest. In this recipe, I have paired the plump, proteinaceous broad beans with delicious baby green brinjals. Green brinjals should be small, with firm texture and barely-there white seeds. Recognizing these qualities in green brinjals will make this a tasty, successful dish.

Baby Green Brinjals and Broad Beans
Baby Green Brinjals and Broad Beans

Broadbeans with Baby Brinjals (Vankaya Chikkudu Kura)
(for four, for one meal)

Prepare the Ingredients:

    Take 10 small green brinjals. Wash and trim the ends off and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Add them to salted water to prevent the onset of bitterness. Shell broad beans from plump pods. We need a cup of broad beans (Chikkudu Vittanaalu or Papdi Lilva).
    Ginger-green chilli paste: Take 1×1 inch piece of fresh ginger. Peel the skin. Take it in a mortar or mixer. Add 4 green chillies and pinch of salt. Pound or grind to smooth paste.

Prepare the Kura:

    Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a cast-iron pan over moderate heat.
    When the oil is hot, do the hing tadka: Add a pinch each – cumin, mustard seeds and hing (asafetida) and toast for couple of seconds.
    Add brinjal pieces and broad beans. Saute until two-thirds cooked, for about ten minutes.
    Stir in the ginger-green chilli paste, quarter teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste. Mix well and continue to cook for another five minutes. If desired, sprinkle a tablespoon of sesame powder or fresh grated coconut for some extra taste.
    Serve hot over rice or with chapati.

Broad Beans with Baby Brinjals
Vankaya Chikkudu Kura ~ for Meal Today

Brinjal Sesame Kura

Bigger isn’t better always. You always know that for making delicious dishes, what is needed is not a big house, even bigger multiple kitchens. Sometimes, bigger things bring bitter results. All you’d need is a tender heart that responds to love and affection to make food that touches the other hearts. I have come to know that this applies to brinjal harvest as well. When you grow your own brinjals, pick as soon as they are just big enough to eat, when their skin still has high gloss finish and inside is tender. When you slice open and find brown flesh and dark seeds, you have waited too long. Bitterness claimed the brinjal soul, and it isn’t a culinary friend any more. The younger ones with angelic pulp and barely developed seeds taste better than bigger and bulky brinjals.

Here is traditional brinjal recipe with sesame I made last weekend for Janmastami with my brinjal harvest. Brinjal and sesame are a good combination and it is just not Bharath, many other world’s cuisines favor this endearing combination. The soul is the same, the dress-up and names are different from country to country. If you have never tried brinjal sesame combination before, try it once. It’s good and tasty, worthy of festival feast.

Homegrown Brinjal from the Backyard Garden
Homegrown Brinjal

Brinjal Sesame Kura
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meals)

Brinjals: Pick 8 to 10 small, fresh looking brinjals. Wash and remove the end. Take water in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cut brinjal into bite sized pieces and drop the pieces into salted water.
Slice one red onion or shallot thinly lengthwise.

Sesame: Place a stainless steel pot on stovetop and heat. When the pot is hot, add 6 dried red chilli, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, half teaspoon black peppercorn, quarter teaspoon cumin, 6 cloves, one-inch piece of cinnamon stick in listed order and at the end 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Constantly stirring, roast the spices to fragrance. Remove them to a plate and cool. Take them in a blender. Add a garlic clove, a tablespoon each – , chopped fresh ginger, tamarind pulp and jaggery pieces, and half cup of water. Blend the ingredients to superfine paste.

Brinjal Sesame Kura: Heat the stainless steel pot again. This time, add a tablespoon of sesame or peanut oil and when oil is hot, do the curry leaf tadka. Add and saute onions to soft. Remove the brinjal pieces from water and add them in the pot. Sprinkle half teaspoon of salt and pinch of turmeric. Cover and cook on medium heat until the brinjal pieces are tender, for about five to eight minutes. Stir in the sesame-spice paste and half cup of water. Adjust salt, sour(tamarind) and sweet(jaggery) levels according to your taste. Mix well and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.

Serve immediately and politely accept the applause from your guests. Sesame brinjal kura tastes great with Pongal rice and sorghum roti with some ghee and pickle on the side.

Sesame Brinjal Kura with Pongal
Brinjal Sesame Kura with Pongal and Red Chilli Pickle ~ Good Meal for a Hungry Soul

Brinjal Cilantro (Vankaya Kottimera Kura)

An authentic Andhra dish to be eaten with Sona Masuri rice or sorghum roti, this superb recipe came with high recommendation from Lakshmi chinnamma. She has been following my vegetable harvest updates and when she saw the fresh and familiar brinjals, she highly recommended I cook this recipe and I did. What a joy it was to rediscover the forgotten taste. Chinnamma, you are my muse, thank you.

Brinjal and Cilantro

Brinjal Cilantro (Vankaya Kottimera Kura)
(for one or two meals for four to two)

    8 palm-length, fresh and firm pinkish mauve colored brinjals
    2 cups, finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    4 green chilli, Indian or Thai variety, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon, grated fresh ginger
    1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon, salt or to taste

    For tadka: 1 tablespoon, peanut oil and
    from masala dabba: tadka ingredients (cumin, mustard seeds and few fresh curry leaves)

Brinjal: Fill a bowl to half with water. Add a teaspoon of salt and mix.
Remove the ends and cut the brinjals lengthwise thinly and then crosswise to about one-inch length pieces. Drop the pieces into salted water. This old-Bharath technique is to prevent brinjal bitter-browning.

Cilantro: Take cilantro leaves, chillies and ginger in a mixer or mortar. Add a pinch of salt and blend them to coarse paste. (Or, if you prefer, skip this step and add the three ingredients as they are.)

Brinjal-Cilantro: Place a wide skillet on stove-top and heat. Add oil and when oil is hot, add and toast curry leaves, a pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds to fragrance. Add brinjal pieces. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Cover the skillet partially and cook the brinjal pieces to soft on medium heat. Add the cilantro paste at the end. Stir-fry for few minutes until the home is filled with wonderful cilantro scent.

Serve Vankaya Kottimera Kura warm with rice or roti and dal or dahi. Soft brinjal pieces with rich, jari like cilantro accent taste spicily silk. Imagine an edible Dharmavaram silk. This could be it.

Vankaya Kottimera Kura (Brinjal-Cilantro Curry)
Vankaya Kottimera Kura ~ For Meal Today

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