This is the recipe for Menthi Podi Veysina Vankaya Kura, an Andhra baby brinjal stir-fry spiced with a fenugreek-flavoured lentil powder. It is a favourite in my home.
In a large vessel, take about 1 litre of water.
Slice the stems off the baby brinjals, and cut them vertically into 4 pieces. If you are using the long variety of brinjal cut it into 2" long pieces about 1/2" wide.
Drop the brinjal pieces into the water as you cut them to prevent them from turning black.
In a large kadhai or wok, over medium flame, heat the oil.
Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Add the split red chillies and curry leaves. Stir-fry for a few seconds.
Drain all the water from the brinjal and add the pieces to the oil.
Add some salt and mix well.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes to allow the brinjal pieces to soften.
Remove the cover and let the brinjal pieces fry while mixing every 1 or 2 minutes. The brinjal pieces should just start to brown at the edges.
Add the turmeric powder and Menthi Podi. Mix well.
Serve hot as a side dish to Sambar Rice or Curd Rice.
If you do not have ready menthi podi, in a few drops of oil roast 1 tbsp chana dal, 1 tbsp udad dal, 2 red chillies, and 1/2 tsp of methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) till they are golden. Cool and grind to a coarse powder.