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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Getahead » Food » Recipe: Sutta Kathirikkai

Recipe: Sutta Kathirikkai

Last updated on: January 02, 2023 20:25 IST
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Coconut is a mainstay of South Indian cooking.

Yet there are times when this popular ingredient is replaced with other alternatives, like chana dal or peanuts to get a nutty flavour.

Sutta Kathirkkai or Sutta Kathirikai Thokku, a roasted eggplant/baigan/brinjal relish, is a multi-purpose recipe served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Its tangy, spicy chutney-like consistency makes it a perfect accompaniment for warm soft idlis, either fluffy or crispy dosas, hot chapattis or even plain, boring steamed rice.

There are several ways to make it. Coimbatore-raised Manjula Nair's version follows the common method, involving roasting eggpplant, and later mashing and tempering it with spice and frying it with onions and tomatoes.

Photograph: Divya Nair/

Sutta Kathirikkai

Serves 4


  • 3-4 medium-sized baigans or eggplant/brinjals
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 3 bedgi red chillies
  • 1 green chilly
  • Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 lime-sized ball tamarind, soaked in warm water
  • 1 tbsp chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro
  • 3 tbsp oil for tempering and frying
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Place each of the eggplant, one by one on a burner or all of them on a tray in the grill and roast over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes till the exterior blackens and burns.
    Keep flipping so they cook evenly on all sides.
    Insert a fork to check if the eggplant ares cooked well.
    Take off heat or out of the grill and keep aside to cool.
    Peel off the charred skin.
    If the eggplant is cooked well, the skin will be flaky and come off easily
    If the skin is sticks to the brinjal, it means it hasn't cooked enough and you can always put back in the grill or on the burner and roast till it is done.
    Mash the brinjal with a fork and keep aside.
  • Strain the tamarind, discard seeds and keep aside the pulpy water
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed kadhai.
    Add 1 tbsp oil.
    Add the mustard seeds.
    When it splutters, lower the heat and add the cumin seeds and the chana dal.
    Saute till the chana dal turns golden.
  • Add the red chillies, green chilly and the curry leaves.
    Saute for a few seconds.
    Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil and the chopped onion.
    Saute till translucent.
    Add the chopped tomato.
    Cover and cook for 2 minutes more.
    Add the red chilly powder.
    Add the salt.
    Mix and cook for a few seconds.
  • Add the pulpy tamarind water to the cooked mixture.
    Now cook well till the oil separates.
    Add the mashed eggplant and mix.
    Cook over low heat till it's the right chutney-like consistency.
    Garnish with coriander leaves.
    Take off heat and serve warm.
    Once cooled, Sutta Kathirikai can be stored in an airtight container and should be consumed in 3-5 days.

Manjula's Note: An alternate version, that skips a few steps and ingredients, for a quick eggplant chutney, if short of time.

After you mash the eggplant, heat oil in a heavy bottomed-kadhai.

Add 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp chana dal, 3-4 dried red chillies and saute for a minute.

After it cools down, add 1 tsp salt, the roasted eggplant and blend all ingredients together in a mixer.

This version of Sutta Kathirikkai chutney goes well with idlis, dosas and chapattis.

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