Smoked brinjal. Something I really detested while growing up. Amma didn't make bharta back then, but she did make this thuvayal/thogayal every once in a while. Later, she learnt that one could steam the brinjal in the cooker and started making it that way. I could more than tolerate that as it didn't have the "smokey" flavour. I even remember her using the microwave to roast the brinjal, but she says she hasn't tried. I insist that she did. (I've lived away for so long now that at times I met my other relatives almost as often as I met my parents. So, maybe she is right after all.)
This thuvayal is a favourite of many and S tells me that this is made in Andhra Pradesh as well. So, it is one dish that is common to both households. I have, of late, started to enjoy the flavour. Maybe it is all the bharta that I get to eat at work (at home too!) or maybe my tastes have simply evolved over time.
1 Large Brinjal
4 Red Chillies
1 tsp Mustard
3 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
3 tsp Oil
1 tbsp Tamarind Paste
Salt to taste
Oil to brush the brinjal
Brush the brinjal with a little oil. Roast the entire brinjal on an open flame. Turn it around until the entire brinjal is roasted and the skin is evenly black and the brinjal is cooked. (You could use a skewer for this.)
Place the brinjal in a bowl of water. Cool and remove the skin.
Heat the oil in a kadhai and fry the red chillies, mustard, asafoetida and urad dal for a couple of minutes. Grind the chillies along with the tamarind paste and salt. Add the brinjal and grind again. Finally, add the fried mustard and urad dal and grind lightly.
As a variation to this, you could substitute the red chillies with an equal number of green chillies (more or less, depending on your taste). Back home, that's how Amma makes it.
While this is great with some rice and papads, it makes a great chutney to go with idlis and dosas. Especially, if you, like me, are trying to reduce your dependence on coconut for chutneys.