Every time I went to a wedding or to any event where Biryani was served as the main dish, I would see a small serving of a red masala being served along with it – the famous Kathrika Pachadi or Kathrika Masala as we call it in Tamil. Even restaurant Biryani servings are incomplete without this spicy and tangy pachadi.
To be honest I’ve never touched it except maybe once or twice. I never took to eating it. In our home it was always the yoghurt salad (thayir pachadi or raita) that was an accompaniment for biryani. My mother in law taught me how to make this dish recently and I loved how she made it. It tasted amazing with Biryani, since now I’m lactose intolerant and can’t have my yoghurt salad. As usual, I always keep a record of any new dishes I learn, because I know good recipes come from humans and not the internet. So here is the recipe I learnt.
Eggplant – 2 nos.
Onion – 2 small
Tomato – 2 small
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp
Peanuts – 3 1/2 tbsp
Coconut shredded – 2 tbsp
Mint Leaves – few
Corriander Leaves – a small bunch
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp (adjust according to requirement)
Corriander Powder – 4 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/4 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1/4 tsp
Peppercorns – a few
Tamarind – lime-sized ball (adjust according to requirement)
Sesame Oil – 1/3rd cup
Salt – to taste
1. Dry roast the sesame seeds and the peanuts separately and set them aside to cool on two steel plates.
2. Make four slits at the base of the eggplant and cut it halfway (do not cut all the way through) such that the brinjal is still intact as a whole. If your eggplant takes longer to cook then cut it into two or or four pieces. Soak them in water to prevent them from them turning brown.
3. Soak the tamarind in some warm water.
4. Chop the onions finely and set aside.
5. Blend the tomatoes to a fine paste and set aside.
6 Now remove the skin of the peanuts by rubbing against them with the palms of your hands. Gently blow over the plate so that the skin flies off and you are left with the peanuts alone. Please do this near a dustbin so that you can clean up later.
7. Grind to a fine paste the peanuts, sesame seeds and the shredded coconut and set aside.
8. In a heavy bottomed vessel heat sesame oil, once it’s hot enough add the peppercorns to season.
9. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn translucent.
10. Add the ginger-garlic paste and the mint leaves and stir for about 2 minutes.
11. Lower the flame and add in all the powders and stir well for another 2 minutes so that the raw smell goes off.
12. Add the eggplants and let them fry well in the oil.
13. Cover and cook till the eggplant is well cooked and soft.
14. Add the pureed tomatoes, and saute till the oil floats on the sides.
15. Add the tamarind water. Stir well.
16. Lower the flame and add the ground paste, constantly stirring. You can add water if necessary. Do not increase the flame as the paste has a tendency to thicken and burn at the bottom of the vessel.
17. Cook until the oil floats on top. Garnish with a bunch of chopped corriander leaves. Yummy kathrika pachadi is ready!
Note: Adjust the chilli powder and the tamarind according to your taste. Increasing both makes the dish more tastier. Unfortunately we are not blessed with such strong stomachs.