Eggplant /Brinjal Thokku

Thokku” is traditionally used as a side or flavor enhancer to the last course in most Tamil meals, which is rice with homemade yogurt. However, the possibilities are endless. Mix with hot, steamed rice and a dash of sesame oil and you have a satisfactory meal.It is a cooked-down relish made from mainly fruits, vegetables and herbs.”
    These days we are having another new season added to the existing four seasons of the year, this one is called Sprinter.Yes, that is right ! Winter in Spring, so Sprinter !It is rain then frost then frigid temperatures, which look no where near Spring , hence I wanted to prepare something so spicy that it would keep the cold away from my bones, thus was born this spicy Eggplant /Brinjal Thokku. Spicy because it is a Chettinadu preparation, which is known for its authentic aromatic spicy dishes. Chettinadu is a region in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. Thokku is basically a cooked down relish, made with different vegetables as an accompaniment to a rice dish or as a side.It enhances the flavor, keeping the taste buds wanting more.
  Two days ago when I did my grocery shopping at the Fresh Market, I picked some fresh and bright colored eggplants and wanted to try making an Eggplant Thokku today. They  were just the right size and were a deep purple. I washed them well under running water and set about preparing my thokku.
Eggplant /Brinjal Thokku

Eggplant /Brinjal Thokku

Recipe by Maya Shetty
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  • 3 tbsp Sesame oil (Gingely oil)

  • 1/4 tsp Methi/ fenugreek seeds

  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

  • 1/2 tsp Jeera / Cumin seeds

  • 2 -3 Cardamom pods

  • 2 medium sized Onions (finely sliced)

  • 2 -3 cubed Tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste

  • 2 tsp Red chili powder

  • 2 tsp Coriander powder

  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder

  • Salt – to taste

  • 1 tsp Garam masala

  • 1 tsp Tamarind paste / Tamico

  • 1 tbsp Jaggery

  • 6 -7 Eggplants / Brinjal chopped

  • 1/2 cup Water

  • Cilantro/ Coriander leaves – a few to garnish


  • Warm Sesame oil (Gingey oil) in a pressure pan until hot. Add in the fenugreek seeds (methi), mustard seeds, cardamom and cumin seeds. Then add the sliced onions and saute until the onions turn golden brown and soft. Add in the tomatoes and ginger garlic paste. Stir it well, until the tomatoes turn mushy soft, you can cover it with a lid for a few minutes until then.
  • Next add the red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and jaggery. Add in the Garam masala powder, along with 1 tsp of tamarind paste.Stir them all together until well mixed, then add the chopped eggplants/brinjal along with half a cup of water.
  • Cover the pressure pan and cook until you hear two whistles (on medium flame). Remove from heat and wait for the pressure to release naturally. Stir them well together, garnish with Cilantro /Coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.


  • It is a spicy dish, so be forewarned ! Those of you not familiar with Chettinadu dishes can go easy on the spices to your liking.

Here goes the quick and easy recipe.


For more Thokku/ South Indian Relish recipes  of mine, check the link below :

Some of the links to my previously published recipes with eggplants are listed below for your interest.

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