Guthi Vankaya Koora/Stuffed Eggplant

Guthivankaya koora - The one recipe that will make mouth water for people from Southern part of India....well, atleast for people from my home state - Andhra pradesh :) .. Stuffed eggplant with hot steamed rice and a touch of ghee...ummm..ummmm....ummmmm. In my opinion, even non-veg dishes will not be able to compete with this one dish. That is how tasty this curry will be..
There are 101 ways to make the stuffing for egg plants. Here is one of my favorite stuffing I wanted to share today. It is spicy, tangy, nutty, rich, with a hint of sweetness and last but not least--Yummy!!! Give it a try and from my own experience, I promise you will be asked to make this dish more often :). Good Luck...
Ingredients
10 to 12 small round eggplants
2 green chillies slit length wise
1 tsp sugar(Optional)
3 to 4 tbsp oil
For Paste(Masala)
1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup dry coconut
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tbsp tamarind paste(or extract from small lemon sized tamarind)
8 to 10 dried red chillies(depending on your spice level - 4 for mild/6 for medium/10 for spicy)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tbsp cumin seeds
4 cloves of garlic
Salt per taste(around 2 to 3 tsp)
For Tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
curry leaves
For Garnish
Handful of coriander leaves
Method
Dry roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut powder, red chillies, coriander seeds and cumin seeds one by one and take into a plate. Let them cool down. Take all the paste(masala) ingredients and salt into a blender or mixer jar and grind to a thick paste adding little water. Set aside.
Wash the eggplants and slit from the opposite side of the stem 3/4th way to the top lengthwise, making into 4 sections leaving the end(stem) intact. See the picture below. You should be making a + sign from the bottom 3/4 th way to the top without discarding the stems. Now with one hand hold the egg plant and with the other hand stuff each of the egg plants with the masala paste. Keep the leftover masala paste aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add in the curry leaves and green chillies. Fry for a minute. Now carefully add in the stuffed egg plants into the pan. Fry till the egg plants are charred on all the side. Be very gentle and careful while rotating the eggplants or the sections will break.
Now add in the left over paste. Let it cook for 2 minutes and add in a cup of water. Stir gently without breaking the egg plants. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or till the egg plants are tender.  The paste has the tendency to stick to the bottom. Instead of stirring with a spoon try rotating the pan gently, holding the pan handle every 5 minutes. If you intend to stir with a spoon, be gentle and try not to break the egg plants. Once the gravy is all cooked down and comes to desired consistency, add in the sugar, give it a gentle stir and cook for a minute . Check and adjust the seasonings. Add coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
Serve with steamed white rice and little ghee.
Note
If it is not spicy enough for you, add red chili powder.
Stir gently without breaking the egg plants.
Depending on the tenderness of the egg plant the cooking time might vary. You can control the cooking time by the amount of water you add in.
If you want your gravy little thinner or if you feel like the gravy got to be cooked little longer, add in another 1/2 cup of water and let it cook. 

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