Eggplant Gravy (Kathirikkai Kulambu)

In Sri Lanka eggplant gravy is a common side dish consumed with rice, pittu or idiyappam.  Traditionally eggplants are deep fried and thick coconut milk is used in making this gravy.  Here, I have modified it into a healthier version. I have given the traditional version of this gravy far below.


  • 1 medium sized purple/Japanese eggplant (about 6 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced lengthwise into two pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Sri Lankan chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 strand curry leaves
  • ¼ cup 2% milk


  • Preheat oven to 450° F
  • Quarter eggplant lengthwise and chop them into 1 inch pieces
  • In a baking sheet mix chopped eggplants and 1 tablespoon canola oil and bake for about 45 minutes
  • In a covered saucepan add 3 teaspoons oil and add mustard seed
  • Once the mustard seed start splattering add onion, garlic and fry until golden brown
  • Add fenugreek seed and fry for about 30 seconds
  • Add baked eggplants to the saucepan and add water, chili powder, salt, tamarind paste and boil in a medium flame for about 10 – 15 minutes
  • Add curry leaves, milk and boil for another 2 – 3 minutes

For the traditional version

  • Cut eggplants as mentioned above and deep fry them
  • Deep fry onion and garlic until golden brown
  • Take a spoonful of hot oil and add fenugreek seed and fry them in the spoon and drain the fenugreek seed
  • Add all the fried ingredients, chili powder, salt, tamarind to a saucepan and add about 3 cups of very thin coconut milk and boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup of thick coconut milk, curry leaves and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes or until gravy is thick

Yields: 2 – 3 servings as a side dish

4 thoughts on “Eggplant Gravy (Kathirikkai Kulambu)

  1. Thank you so much Chelvi for the recipe. I will ensure to try out the healthier version and let you know how it turned out 🙂

  2. Thanks akka! I looked for katharikai kulambu methods on other websites but they weren’t like the way my mother made it at home, but this one is pakka on the spot 🙂

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