Chettinad kathrikkai podi varuval- eggplant fry

eggplant roasted
Are you pro eggplant or anti-eggplant? Well, I am totally a pro eggplant person. Bring it to me in purple white green or any other colour, bring it long, short, thick or thin, I guess I have a huge stack of recipes I have to make with each variety. Lets start with this kathrikka podi varuval.

Why do I love eggplant/brinjal?

The primary reason for the love towards the brinjal (aubergine) is nothing but the fact that I have seen them grow in all sorts of shapes and colours on our terrace garden all through my childhood. Mom will plant white ones, long green ones or plump purple ones and dad tends to them as if they were his babies, checking every leaf and watering them with care. They both get extremely excited when the first batch comes and come up with their own list of brinjal recipes to make through the season.  Finally, they will agree upon one for the day and it repeats with the next batch they harvest.

What do you need to make this Chettinad karthrikka podi varuval?

This kathrikka podi  varuval is one of the recipes from my parents collection.  This is also the easiest brinjal fry recipe.  The recipe is perfect to be prepped ahead for the week, but not so great if frozen.
Brinjal/ eggplant: eggplants are often called brinjal in India. Among the varieties of eggplant that you will use for this recipe the best is the small round purple or Variegated variety ( often called Asian eggplants). You can easily adapt this to the long Lebanese eggplants too. The regular large eggplants tend to absorb more oil and strain a bit softer so not the best suited for this recipe.
The prep for these brinjals is very simple. Wash, pat dry and slice as wedges. If you are slicing ahead, you will have to keep them soaked in water as they turn brown.
The varuval masala podithe varuval masala podi used for this recipe is the one that gives the classic Chettinad flavour.  Infact, we make this powder in larger quantities to use for other vegetable fry as well. You can add this podi to beans upperi or cabbage thoran to create varieties. You could also swap out the podi to the dhania podi we had made earlier.
Ingredients for tempering – Typical to most south Indian temperings, the mustard seeds, the black gram dal and the channa dal makes the tempering along with chillies and curry leaves.
Other optional additions- You can add sliced onion and chopped garlic if you like. Add this to right after the tempering, saute till they are translucent and then add the sliced brinjal.


Chettinad kathrikkai podi varuval.

Kathrikka podi varuval is a unique brinjal fry recipe made with a variegated small variety of brinjal and delicious varuval masala podi recipe. Here are both the recipes that you can use to create an easy south Indian meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course sidedish, Soups and salad
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, One pot, Summer, tamilnadu, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Knife
  • 1 frying pan


vegetables and essentials

  • 8 small eggplant round or long ones
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

for the spice mix

  • 3 tbsp Channa Dal bengal gram dal
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 slithers tamarind
  • 1 tbsp peanut
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds black
  • 5 dry red chillies
  • 5 Black pepper
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup coconut grated

for tempering

  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal black gram dal
  • 1 tsp Channa Dal bengal gram dal
  • 10 curry leaves


To make the spice mix

  • In a flat pan, dry roast the dals for the spice mix. roast till golden brown and set aside on a plate to cool.
  • On top of the roasted dals, add the turmeric and the tamarind slithers.
  • In the same pan add the peanuts and roast them till crisp, add to the dal mix.
  • Roast the grated coconuts on a gentle flame till aromatic and golden brown and add to the dal mix.
  • Follow the dry roast with coriander, dry red chillies,curry leaves, sesame seeds and black pepper.
  • Allow all the spice mix to cool and then powder it to a fine texture.

To make the roast.

  • Wash and slice the eggplants ad long thin wedges.
  • In a pan add oil and as it warms add mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal.
  • When the mustard splutters and the dals turn golden, add crushed curry leaves.
  • Now add the eggplant wedges and saute well.
  • Once the eggplants are seared sprinkle a bit of salt and turmeric powder and set on a low heat to roast gently.
  • Cover and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Now sprinkle the prepared spice mix and toss well
  • Simmer further and let each wedge roast, absorbing the flavours of the spice mix.
  • Takes about 10 minutes
  • Now the eggplants are well done and ready to serve.


Use a heavy pan to do the roasting as you will get perfect crisp slices then.
Once sauteed you can even bake these mixes in spices.
Keyword chutneys and podi, curry recipes, Indian vegetarian dinner, warm salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What to pair with this brinjal fry?

The kathrikka podi varuval is a lovely addition to the south Indian thali meal. In fact, a simple rasam, a beetroot salad, steamed rice or millet, some avalakki sandige and this brinjal fry is an ultimate home combo. Make a bit more while you make this brinjal fry as it is a fantastic topper to make an Indian inspired bruschetta. Pick up some crusty sour dough bread or focaccia. 


This recipe has been added to two lovely blogger associations. 
Since the recipe is from my mum’s collection cookbook it is a part of Cooking from a cookbook. I love the old notebook she passed on to me that is a treasure trove of her best-trusted recipes. 
The recipe was added just in time for the A-Z challenge as we are doing ingredients based on the letter E. Eggplant surely is the best choice for this group of ingredients and having grown up with plenty of eggplant varieties, I cannot miss this opportunity. 

A-Z recipe challenge logo.

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Chettinad kathrikka varuval, brinjal fry.

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The Girl Next Door
5 years ago

My mom makes this curry and I absolutely adore it. She makes it finger-lickingly delicious, just like yours looks.   Got to learn making this now.

MildLy indian
MildLy indian
Reply to  The Girl Next Door
5 years ago

Yes moms have these Special trickS up thier sleeve

5 years ago

Love katthiri in general and this dish sits at the top of my favourites. Today I shall also make a similar dish but with snow peas for my son who unfortunately detests this wonderful offer from the Solanacaea family.

5 years ago

This curry looks so flavourful. I love baingan and will surely try it out.

Mayuri Patel
5 years ago

Hubby and I are big fans of brinjals and any new way of making them is most appealing to me. Bookmarking your recipe to out this Chettinad style eggplant sabji.

5 years ago

I am a super duper pro-eggplant person! I can eat it everyday without getting bored 🙂 and I love your spice mix.. can totally see using it with other vegetables too!
Thanks for sharing!

Priya Suresh
5 years ago

Serve me this eggplant fry with some hot piping rasam rice, i just love these sort of simply stir fries to enjoy without any fuss.

Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
5 years ago

That podi that is going into that varuval sounds phenomenal! So much flavor… Sounds truly delicious…

geetha priyanka
5 years ago

This stir fry sounds easy to make yet flavourful. I love all the spices that goes in this dish. Perfect to enjoy with rice and dal.

Sujata Roy
5 years ago

I love eggplant in any form. And this curry looks so flavourful and mouthwatering. I will try it soon. Fabulous share.

Poonam Bachhav
5 years ago

I always look for new eggplant varieties to try out as both Kiran and I adore this fruit. Love your version Seema. Looks absolutely delish !

Sandhya Ramakrishnan
Sandhya Ramakrishnan
5 years ago

We love eggplant in any form and we also grow a ton of them in summer. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try soon as I love Chettinad cuisine.

5 years ago

Yummy and tempting, loving the flavours here. Looks tempting

5 years ago

I love the spice mix you have used; the spice appeals to the Andhra in me. And since brinjal is a favourite in my home, this will be a welcome recipe.

Vidya Narayan
5 years ago

Kathrikai with podi and stir fried – All sounds a big Yes to me! I adore aubergines in any form and varuvals are especially fuss free and delicious if you have a flavourful spice mix like this one.

5 years ago

The chettinad style of eggplant curry looks lovely & the color is totally beautiful. This is very similar to the way my mom-in-law make it at home. Delicious share

Vanitha Bhat
5 years ago

We can never have enough recipes to make baingan! This one with so many aromatic spices I am sure tasting superb! Must try this soon 🙂 Thanks for sharing dear!

5 years ago

These pan roasted eggplants are looking so tempting Seema. Love to mop up with some roti !

5 years ago

Never tried Eggplant this way!! With all the spices this one is sure a dish full of flavours. Will surely try this with the spice mix.

5 years ago

Now this is one delicious eggplant recipe I want to try asap. I love the use of the podi in the vegetable. Sounds yummy and since I have a lot of the podi I better use up what better way to get the vegetable not liked by the girls into them.

Usha Rao
Usha Rao
2 years ago
Rating :

I like almost all Indian eggplant stir fries or stuffed curries. When I am in a hurry, I go with fry with eggplant. This time I made your version and we loved it!!

Priya Vj
2 years ago
Rating :

Hubby loves kathrikaai and this is her fav . I love the simple spices mix which goes really well with brinjal . Perfect side dish for rasam saadham

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
Rating :

Chettinad Kathrikkal podi varuval definitely looks so tempting. Like how simple it is to make and yet so flavourful with the homemade spice mixture. Would love to have it with hot rotis.

2 years ago
Rating :

This eggplant fry is delicious. I can’t believe there are so many eggplant fry varieties. I’d like to incorporate this recipe, which has such fantastic flavors, into our menu. Nice post!

mina joshi
2 years ago
Rating :

This curry looks delicious. I love the spices you have used to create the curry. We love aubergines so this curry will be on the menu soon.

Jayashree T.Rao
2 years ago
Rating :

The eggplant stir fry looks tasty and easy to prepare. Its usually my son and me who like brinjal. Will try your version sometime. What else do you use this spice mix Seema?

2 years ago
Rating :

I love Chettinad style dishes and so Chettinad Kathrikkai podi varuvalis something I will make with this batch of eggplant that I have ordered. Thanks.

Rinku Bhattacharya
2 years ago

I love eggplant, especially because of its ability to hold on to bold flavors. I love chettinaad flavors, so this recipe for me is a match made in flavor heaven

2 years ago
Rating :

the Chettinad style Palya(stir fry) is right in my playhouse. the spice mix with the katrikkai would be so welcome at home!

Last edited 2 years ago by Kalyani
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