Vankaya pachadi is a spicy, flavorful South Indian chutney with eggplants. It is one of the freshly made condiments in most households and goes well with rice and Indian flatbreads.
This recipe was originally published in March 2013. Post is republished with new images and content.
About the Recipe
When it comes to brinjal / eggplant / vanakya as we call it in Telugu (one of many Indian dialects), people either love it or hate it. However, it is a versatile vegetable that transforms into many avatars.
Some of the avatars are; vankaya masala in a form of stir fry, vanakaya poornam (stuffed eggplant masala) again a stir fry with stuffed baby eggplants, gutti vankaya koora (stuffed eggplant curry), brinjal raita, chutney and bharta.
Another interesting avatar is a fritter as in begin bhaja from Sizzing Taste Bud, which works as a side dish and also a snack.
Pachadi or chutney with vegetables is a common condiment and we make pachadi with almost every vegetable on the planet with a few excepts. Red bell pepper pachadi, zucchini tomato pachadi, zucchini pachadi, and sorakaya pachadi are a few to name. Brinjal is no exception.
Vankaya pachadi is a simple recipe where the vegetable is sauteed with basic tempering ingredients, seasoned to taste with green chilies with a touch of tamarind or lime juice for tang. It is then ground to a smooth or a coarse paste.
Indian chutneys calls for staple Indian spices, curry leaves, chilies for heat and a few lentils or nuts or seeds for some texture and flavor. Sesame seeds are very common in Telangana kitchens and it's use is extensive in chutneys, pickles and curries.
Complete ingredient list in recipe card below.
- Vankaya/brinjal/eggplant - It is a usually prepared with purple eggplants and both long and round variety works for chutneys. However, I prefer the long variety and in US, Chinese eggplants are good replacement for Indian long brinjals.
- Chilies - We usually use green chilies for chutneys but dry chilies also work. You can also use a combination of red and green chilies.
- Tamarind - Tamarind paste works best. If you do not have it on hand, wash and add a small piece of tamarind when sauteeing eggplants. Lime juice is a good substitute.
- Sesame Seeds - Enhance the flavor and texture of the chutney. Peanuts are a good substitute. You can also omit the seeds and add some urad or chana dal along with the spices.
There are many versions of the recipe but the basic step is sauteing the vegetable with spices and then grinding it. The last step is pouring a tempering over the chutney, which I usually skip.
Final step of tempering works as a garnish as well as some extra aroma and flavor to the chutney. I do it when I have guests but for everyday meal, I skip. However, I do like adding some chopped red onions and chopped kotmir as a garnish.
Detailed preparation in the recipe card below.
- Roast cumin, mustard, fenugreek, coriander, chilies, curry leaves and garlic in some oil (#1 in the collage).
- Saute cut eggplants for few minutes, cover and cook until soft (#2-4).
- Add the sesame seeds, cilantro, tamarind paste, give a good stir and let the mixture cool (#5-6).
- Grind to a paste, garnish with chopped onions and cilantro. I ground it to a paste but coarse chutney also tastes very good. If doing a tempering, pour it over chutney and serve (this step not in the collage).
Serve chutney with rice, roti, paratha or any Indian flatbread. Sometimes I also serve with dosa. Chutney also works as a great spread for sandwiches and crackers just like the Russian Baklazhannaia Ikra ~ Poor Man’s Caviar.
Tips, Dos and Don'ts
- Always add cut eggplants to salt water until ready to cook. This stops the vegetable from discoloration.
More Eggplant Recipes
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- Cutting board & knife
- Bowl of water
- Frying pan or saute pan
- Mixie / blender or a food processor
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 2 Green Chilies
- 4 Curry Leaves
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- ⅙ teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- Turmeric Powder
- 170 grams or 2 Indian Eggplants
- ½ tablespoon Tamarind Paste homemade or 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds roasted, check notes for using un roasted seeds
- 2 tablespoon Cilantro chopped more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped Red Onion for garnish
- Wash and cut brinjal into semi circles. Put them in a bowl of salted water until ready to use.
- Take oil in a frying pan or a skillet and heat oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add green chilies, curry leaves, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds. Sauté until chilies change color and seeds splutter.
- If using unroasted sesame seeds, add now and roast for a few seconds.
- Add turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
- Remove brinjal pieces from water and add to pan. Sauté for couple minutes until brinjal changes color.
- Cover the pan and cook on medium high heat for 2-4 minutes or until brinjal pieces are soft.
- Remove the cover and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes until soft, mushy & finely roasted.
- Add tamarind paste and mix well. If using roasted sesame seeds, add the seeds now.
- Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely.
- Transfer brinjal mixture to a blender/mixie jar, add some water and blend it to a fine paste. I prefer a coarse paste when serving with rice.
- Adjust salt and tamarind to taste.
- Before serving, add chopped red onions and cilantro. Serve with rice, roti or dosa.
- Brinjal - Use purple brinjal/eggplants and both long and round variety work for this chutney. However, I prefer the long variety and in US, Chinese eggplants are good replacement for Indian long brinjals.
- Always put cut eggplants in salted water until ready to cook, to avoid discoloration of eggplants.
- Chilies - You can substitute green chilies with red chilies or use a combination or red and green chilies. Red chilies will give a reddish color to the chutney and the taste varies as well.
- Sesame Seeds - If you do not have roasted sesame seeds handy, add the seeds in step 4, before adding brinjal.
- Texture - I ground the chutney to a fine paste but you can grind it to a coarse paste as well. Coarse chutney goes very well with rice.
- Garnish - Add chopped onions as before serving.
- Tempering - I usually avoid pouring tempering over chutneys. However, for an added aroma and flavor, heat some oil, temper it with a red chili, 1-2 curry leaf, pinch of mustard & turmeric and pour over the chutney.
- Nutrition - values are approximate calculations.
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This recipe was originally published in March 2013. Post republished with new images and content.