Cook's Hideout: Vankaya Ulli Karam Kura (Eggplant Curry with Onion Masala)

September 05, 2012

Vankaya Ulli Karam Kura (Eggplant Curry with Onion Masala)

For the 3rd and last of the marathon under the theme "Cooking with Onions", I wanted to make an Indian dish. Onions are quintessential ingredient in Indian cooking, so I wanted to make a dish that utilizes onions in a very traditional way.

Ulli Karam (Ulli=Onion, Karam=Red chili or hot spicy in Telugu) is a great base for a number of dishes. A paste of either raw or cooked onions and red chili powder is used as a spread in dosas, mixed with rice or like did today cooked with a veggie. Eggplant (vankaya), Potato (bangaladumpa), Bittergourd (kakarakaya), Ridgegourd (beerakaya), basically any veggie can be used to make a ulli karam kura. Being an eggplant lover, I decided make my curry with eggplant. 
Baby eggplants would be perfect, but I only had the long slender Japanese eggplants in the fridge. So I chopped them into chunks and cooked them in the onion gravy. The final dish was so delicious with the melt in your texture of the eggplant complemented with the slightly sweet, but still spicy, onion gravy. 
Red Onions - 2 medium, chopped
Japanese Eggplant (vankaya/ brinjal) - 3 medium, chopped into 2" chunks (make a 'X' slit on each of the chunks, so the eggplants are cooked through)*
Red chili powder - 1-2tsp (or as per taste, I used only 1tsp for a mild curry, use more if you can handle some heat)
Tamarind pulp - 2tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Shah Jeera - 2tsp, divided
Cloves - 4
Curry leaves - 6-8
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - 2tbsp, finely chopped, for garnish

  • Heat 2tsp oil in a saute pan; add the cinnamon stick, 1tsp shah jeera, cloves and the chopped onions. Cook on medium flame until onions turn translucent and slightly browned around the edges, about 6-8 minutes. Remove into a plate to cool. Once it's slightly cooled, grind into a smooth paste along with salt, red chili powder and tamarind paste.
  • In the same pan, heat 1tbsp oil and add 1tsp shah jeera and curry leaves. Next add the eggplants; cover and cook on medium-low flame until almost cooked through.
  • Add the onion paste and gently mix it in with the veggies. Cover and cook until eggplant is completely cooked through. Add some water if the mixture looks dried out. Check the seasonings and adjust accordingly. 
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or roti.
I served this spicy curry with a cooling tomato majjiga pulusu (tomato kadhi) and white rice for a filling meal.
Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked up today for BM# 20.

* If using Indian or Thai style baby eggplants, use may be 8-10 of them.


  1. Yum ...looks so delish and the spread is fab

  2. Spicy and great gravy!!!


    Ongoing Event - Coconut

  3. Mouthwatering here, i can have this eggplant curry with anything.

  4. I too make it in much similar MIL's fav recipe...

  5. Lovely clicks. The curry looks good.

  6. looks real yum..n glad that we can make this dish with other marked!..lovely clicks, like the way you have composed the picture.

  7. Mouthwatering recipe..bookmarked !

  8. looks so sure even the brinjal haters would pick this up blindly

  9. The eggplant looks superb!

  10. Your entire presentation looks so inviting very well captured clicks pavani..

  11. Hi dear,
    tempting dish. You can participate to my FIRST EVENT AND GIVEAWAY-SHOE ME YOUR DESSERT,

  12. looks awesome and delicious ...

  13. very delicious i tried pavani thanku

  14. i tried it its very delicious thankuu pavani


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