Friday, September 18, 2009

Yennegayi/Yengai (Stuffed eggplant)

I believe that for anybody to fall in love with a cuisine, he/she needs to actually taste the authentic version first. If we try the cultured/modified version, we might not appreciate it much. Take my example.., I tried pasta at a Chinese resturant (Bad choice, isn't it!!) & decided not to eat any more pasta. Thanks to my friend, she took me to an Italian resturant to make me feel how the authentic pasta would taste.Same was the case of my hubby, he being born & brought up eating Udupi Cuisine didnot appreciate North Karnataka Cuisine, until I made him eat jolada rotti + yengai in a small food joint in D.D. Urs Road, Mysore. I need not specifically mention that he became a regular customer to them :)
Though I have spent a part of my childhood days in North Karnataka, I didnot have the recipe of this. I got this recipe from my friend who has literally grown up eating them. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

Ingredients: (Serves: 4-5)
For stuffing (Spice powder)
Coriander seeds/dhania: 1 tbsp
Ground nuts: 2 tbsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Roasted channa da(gram)l/hurigadale: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Clove: 3 nos
Cumin seeds/jeera: 1 tsp
Black sesame: 1 tsp
Niger seeds/hucchellu: 1 tsp (Thanks a lot for correcting me Jayasri)
Dry coconut: 1-2 tbsp (grated)
Red chilli: 12-15 (I like it hot & spicy)
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 3 strings
Asafetida: 2 big pinches
Salt: According to taste

For the gravy:
Small eggplant: 14-18
Tamarind: 1 big grape sized
Powdered Jaggery: 1 tsp(optional but recommended)
Onion: 1 big
Garlic: 2 pods (optional)
Oil: 3-5 tbsp
Water: 1.5-2 cups
Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 2 strings
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp (finely chopped, for garnishing)


Method:

For the masala/spice powder

Dry roast all the ingredients mentioned (except coconut, roasted channa dal, asafetida & salt). Allow the spices to cool.

After dry roasting the peanuts, peel the skin & keep them aside. Mix roasted channa dal, coconut, asafetida, salt to the other spices & prepare a fine powder. Finally add peanuts & run the mixie for 5secs (idea is to powder the peanuts to a coarse powder).



For yennegayi

  1. Wash the eggplant & pat dry. Make a slit of the eggplant as shown below.
  2. Fill a tbsp or less of the spice powder to each of the eggplant. Keep the stuffed eggplant aside.Heat oil in a broad pan (ensure to take a very broad one, as it has to fit all the eggplants). Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When they splutter, add curry leaves, garlic & onion. Saute until onion turns golden brown.
  3. Add tamarind extract, remaining spice powder, stuffed eggplants & stir well. Oil should coat on the eggplants. Add water, salt (check the taste & then add, because we have already added salt to the spice powder), jaggery & mix well.
  4. Cook the eggplants on a low heat sitrring occasionally. Add few tbsps of water if required. Cook until the gravy becomes thick & eggplants soft. (It takes around 10-15 minutes).
  5. Turn off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves & serve it with hot rotis.

Tips:

  1. Yennegayi literally means kayi(vegetable) cooked in yenne(oil). The more oil you put, the tastier the dish would be.
  2. The dish would tast equally good without garlic & onion too. My mom doesn't add them & I love that version too.
  3. Try to take equal sized eggplants as all of them get cooked evenly.
  4. Nigella seeds are a must to get an authentic taste to the dish.