Kathrikai Gothsu | Brinjal Gothsu

kathrikai gothsu
Kathrikai  Gothsu or Brinjal Gravy cooked in a spicy tamrind sauce is a most tasty popular accompaniment for Pongal. This humble dish  has a history of more than 1000 years  and   is associated with the Temple town of Chidambaram  the abode of Lord Nataraja in Tamilnadu  . The priests of the temple known as Deekshitars offer this brinjal gothsu with Samba saadham , a spicy rice offering made of pepper and cumin. Hence this dish is also known as Chidambaram Gothsu.
Onions are not used when this is offered as Neivediyam to the Gods.But at home when preparing this lip smacking dish for Pongal, small onions may be added.
kathrikai gothsu, gothsu powder

kathkrikai gothsu kathrikai gothsuSuch is the popularity of this dish that almost every function and wedding feast is incomplete without this Gothsu featuring in the menu.

The smoky flavors of the brinjal is unmatched with any gas cooked or oven cooked ones. In the olden days the brinjals were charred on the wood fires and that lent a great smokiness to the dish. However now people have adopted much easier simpler ways to prepare the dish. Some opt to grill or on  the gas flame directly which is more easy . This dish  prepared in several ways. One to either char grill the brinjal, peel and then puree in a blender or mash with ladle lightly  before processing further, or to chop them into small pieces without roasting on the gas flame and then prepare the dish with the spice powder and tamrind extract.

Each one have their own unique personal preference in preparing this dish. Some do not like to have it pureed, some dont not like to see the chopped brinjal pieces. Brinjal is also not favoured as a a great vegetable by many who hesitate to choose this , but some combinations make brinjal ideal for gravy dishes.

Like any other dish gothsu also has several variations and I have made one of them, the original recipe has no onions or tomatoes , uses only tamrind, powdered spices, smoked pureed brinjals . I have made it both ways, however we like the taste of shallots and tomatoes in the recipe , making it suitable for pongal, upma, idlis or even chapati.


1 big purple brinjal for roasting . Or smaller purple brinjals .
1 -2 small tomatoes chopped into fine pieces.
1 onion chopped ,  few shallots .
1 small berry sized tamrind, making about 1.5 cups of thin tamrind water .
Salt  to taste.
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of asafoetida powder

Pinch of jaggery powdered added after the dish is ready .
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing.

1.5 tbsp  Coriander seeds
1 tbsp chana dal
5-6 Long red dry chillis ( Round red chillis are also fine, use a a mix of spicy milkd varieties  )
Pinch of asafoetida powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds

2 tsp sesame oil .

Roast all ingredients with sesame oil ,till fragrant, cool and powder, keep aside till required .

( The above ingredients  will give around 1/2 cup of powder, use around 2 1/2  tbsp of this,  depending on how spicy you like and save the rest in the fridge for one more time ! )This gothsu powder makes a great curry powder too.

1 tsp Sesame oil  as it gives a good taste to the gothsu
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp split udad dal

red chillies
Sprigs of curry leaves


1. Wash and wipe dry  the eggplant well. Smear some oil all over the eggplant and roast  them on the gas flame till charred dark or in  a separate grill oven. Be sure to turn the eggplants all over the flame to char evenly. Keep aside when roasted evenly and dark.Let it cool before you peel and extract the pulp.

2 Keep the tamrind soaked in warm water and then extract the pulp .

3. In a deep pan, put some oil and heat well. Roast all the ingredients under spice powder and then remove when a fine aroma of roasted ingredients emanates. Dont forget to add the asafoetida too while roasting.

4. Powder all the roasted and cooled ingredients and keep aside.
5. Peel off the charred skin of the roasted eggplants and mash them lightly to slightly puree them but not too much. Use the back of the ladle to mash them while still warm. You can also chop into smaller pieces instead of pureeing them too.

6. In a  heated pan, add some oil, prepare the tempering of mustard seeds, , red chillies , split udad dal , add the chopped tomatoes, let it cook for couple of minutes, add chopped onions , sautee well, add turmeric powder, big pinch of asafoetida powder, curry leaves ,  allow the tomatoes and onions to soften a bit , add the extracted tamarind water, allow mixture to cook, till there is no raw smell of tamrind  .
add the  semi pureed or mashed  roasted brinjal,  the spice powder around 2 1/2 tbsp  for Gothsu.
Let it come to a boil till the mixture thickens to desired consistency .
When the gothsu gravy thickens a bit, you can remove from the gas and add the chopped coriander leaves and sprigs of curry leaves.
Serve hot with Pongal. Idlis, dosas.
Once again I repeat , traditionally tomatoes  and onions are not used, only thin tamrind extract is used to prepare gothsu,  and brinjal is either char grilled in flame or on wood fire ,I have posted pics of both with and without shallots, tomatoes .
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