Go Back
brinjal chutney recipe

Kathirikkai Thokku | Brinjal Chutney Recipe

Kathirikkai Thokku - If there's anything that would add to the taste of already delicious biryani, it's this thokku. Made with a special blend of spices, this will quickly be everyone's favourite!
Course Lunch
Cuisine South Indian
Keyword Brinjal, Eggplant
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Niveditha


For the masala powder:

For the thokku:

  • 3/4* cup Peanut oil , unrefined, (150ml)
  • 2 inch Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 medium Onions , sliced, (300g)
  • 1/2 cup Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 3 large Tomatoes , diced, (350g), any variety
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt , adjust to taste
  • 600 g Brinjal , chopped lenghtwise, (purple or white or pale green variety)
  • 1 cup Coriander Leaves , loosely packed
  • 2 cups Tamarind Extract (thinned) , (see notes)


The masala powder:

  • Place a saute pan or a kadai on the stove top. Add the sesame seeds and let it warm up. Remove it into a spice grinder.
  • Then add the peanuts and toast them for a few minutes. Transfer it to the spice grinder.
  • Top the peanuts and sesame seeds with chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
  • Grind it to almost fine powder.

The thokku:

  • Place a kadai on stovetop. Add the oil and let it hot.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the cinnamom, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Wait until the mustard seeds splutter and the cloves swell up.
  • Add the sliced onions and sauté until it becomes translucent and then begins to brown around the edges.
  • Next add the Ginger Garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and the salt. Sauté it until the tomatoes become completely mushy.
  • Now add the chopped brinjals. Sauté them until they turn mushy. Stir and scrape often to avoid scorching.
  • Finally add in the coriander leaves, the tamarind extract and the ground masala powder. Mix it through. Reduce the flame to low and let it simmer until oil floats on top.
  • Remove from heat and serve with your favorite biryani!


  • 1 cup = 237 ml.
  • Oil - If you're using non-stick Kadai, you can. make do with 50 ml of oil. If using a regular Kadai, you'll need so much oil to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Once cooked, you can let it rest for a while and remove the oil before serving.
  • Type of Oil: Peanut oil is the best for this recipe. This is very important to bring out the best flavor of this kathirikkai thokku. 
  • Masala Powder: A more intense flavor can be achieved by dry roasting chilies and coriander seeds and grind them. If you would like to know the measurements, drop a comment below.
  • Whole Spices: If you do not have any or all of the whole spices (cardamom or cinnamon or cloves), you can use 1/2 tsp of garam masala as a substitute.
  • Storage: This kathirikkai thokku, when made with the mentioned amount of oil, can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Ensure to store it in an airtight container and also ensure that a layer of oil floats on top.
  • Tamarind Extract: Warm 3 cups of water and add a ball of tamarind the size of a lemon (tightly packed). Let it rest until the water becomes cold enough to touch. Squeeze and extract the tamarind as much as possible. Strain and use the water.