Vankaya Nilava Pachadi is a traditional brinjal pickle made in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This eggplant pickle or Baingan ka Achar is very easy to make and has a long shelf-life. You can enjoy it with rice and ghee or then serve it as a side to dal-chawal or curd rice.
Wipe 250 gms of baby brinjals with a soft cotton cloth and ensure they are completely dry. If needed, let them air-dry for 30 minutes or so.
Cut each baby brinjal into 4 pieces vertically. Do not cut them into very small pieces.
Getting the Spices Ready
Dry roast 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds till they start to change colour.
Turn off the heat and to the same pan add 2 tbsp mustard seeds and mix well.
Transfer the mustard and fenugreek seeds to a plate to cool.
Grind the cooled roasted fenugreek and mustard seeds to a coarse powder.
Prepping the Tamarind
Break part a 1.5" inch ball of tamarind and dry roast it on a pan till it is a bit dry.
Let the tamarind cool and then grind it with 1 tsp salt.
Frying the Brinjal
In a kadhai or frying pan, over medium flame, heat 1/4 cup of oil.
Add mustard seeds and wait till they crackle.
Add the brinjal pieces and stir-fry till they start to change colour.
Using a slotted ladle, remove the brinjal pieces from the oil and transfer them to a plate to cool.
Let the oil in which the brinjal was fried cool completely to room temperature.
Making the Brinjal Pickle
Mix together the cooled tempered oil, salt-tamarind powder, mustard-fenugreek powder, and chilli powder.
Add the cooled, fried brinjal pieces and mix well.
Add 2 to 3 tbsp oil, and mix well.
Transfer the Vankaya Nilava Pachadi to an air-tight bottle and let it pickle for 2-3 days. You can also serve this Brinjal Pickle immediately, but I like it better after it has pickled for 2 or 3 days.
Serve the pickle as a side to dal chawal or curd rice.