Vankaya Ullikharam

Vankaya Ullikharam

My MIL makes awesome dishes and this is one of her recipe that she makes amazingly well. This is finger and plate licking worth recipe. No matter how much I try it doesn’t taste exactly like my dear mother in laws. Of course I made my own changes to the recipe as well. She doesn’t add garlic but I did. She makes these really awesome dishes that I fear I will never taste. Her cabbage pachadi is one of the best ever and couldn’t believe I’ve never eaten it before that. She always takes the time despite the busy and short schedule that we have to make our favorite dishes. Within a matter of minutes she produces amazing dishes with whatever is in the fridge. She never ceases to amaze me. And there is ALWAYS extra food for the unexpected guest. Even at moms, there’s always food for one other person to have a complete South Indian meal.

Traditionally the way my MIL makes it, she uses green vankaya (eggplant). But whenever I’m at the Indian store they look sad and callous. Tender eggplants work the best for this recipe. When produce is too old, the taste changes and it takes longer to cook too. I brought the eggplants or brinjal just a day before, so they were as fresh as I could get them. I wanted to make my famous gutti vankaya but I had a shortage of ingredients for it so modified it to make this. My MIL actually stuffs each eggplant with the ullikharam, but me being EXTREMELY lazy, don’t. I just put the paste over the eggplants and then the stove and pan do their work. You can use regular eggplant too, but I would suggest to use the smaller ones for the best experience. If you can find the green ones even better!


Small vankaya (eggplant) – 10

Oil – 1/3rd cup

Mustard Seeds – 1 tablespoon

Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida – 1/4th teaspoon

Coriander leaves/Cilantro – For garnish

For paste:

Onion – 3 medium

Ginger – a small piece

Green chilies – 5 or 6

Garlic – 4-5 cloves

Coriander Seeds – 1 teaspoon

Jeera (Cumin) – 1 tablespoon

Red chili Powder – 1 tablespoon

Salt – 2 tablespoons (as needed)

Water – As needed

How To Make

Step 1: Add the onions, ginger, green chilies, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin, red chili powder and salt and make it into a paste. Don’t need to add water at this point.

Step 2: Slit the eggplants vertically and horizontally. And leave them in water.

Step 3: In a pan (use one with a lid on it), add oil, once hot add mustard seeds, as they start spluttering add asafoetida and cumin.

Step 4: Add the eggplants, be careful as the water can make the oil splutter. Add in the paste, and a cup of water, mix it in and put the lid on. Keep the stove between low and medium.

Step 5: Stir it occasionally. I added in total of 2 and a half cups of water. The eggplants get steamed well and become extremely soft and all the water evaporates. Also the oil starts to ooze out of the ullikharam.

Step 6: Add the coriander leaves for garnish, mix it a little keep the lid on, let it steam for 5 minutes and turn off the stove.

Step 6: Serve it with steaming hot rice and ghee.

Looks like the mouth of a whale, but it’s actually a vankaya or eggplant
Another whale like eggplant for y’all (Remind Sharath it’s not a lizard)

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