Pittu with Katharikkai

Today, I felt like sharing another of my family’s comfort food. During the weeks that my mouth was wired shut after my road traffic accident nearly a decade ago, the food that I felt like eating the most was pittu and katharikkai vathakkal. It was then that I found out that everyone in my family seemed to like it very much as well.

As pittu is made as either kulal pittu or regular pittu and my mother generally makes the katharikkai (brinjal) as a curry or vathakkal (stir-fry) to go with the pittu, I decided to share the recipes for all of them.

(a) Kulal pittu (pittu steamed in bamboo)

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 3


Kulal Pittu


  • Roasted rice flour – 1 cup
  • Steamed wheat flour – ¼ cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Scraped coconut – ¼ cup
  • Hot water, as required


  1. Mix the roasted rice flour and the steamed wheat flour. Add some salt.
  2. Pour the hot water (boiled and slightly cooled) slowly into the flour mixture and stir by hand till you have coarse, little balls.
  3. Divide into three sections of flour mixture.Divide the freshly scraped coconut into four parts.
  4. Take the bamboo steamer and layer the bottom with one part of the freshly scraped coconut. Then, take one of the divided sections of flour mixture and fill in the bamboo steamer. Layer again, with the second part of scraped coconut. Repeat for remaining two sections of flour mixture until the bamboo steamer is filled but not overflowing. Top with the final part of the scraped coconut.
  5. Steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Serve the kulal pittu with katharikkai kulambu.

(b) Katharikkai Curry/ Brinjal curry

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 4 to 5

Katharikkai curry

Katharikkai curry


  • Brinjal – 2 cups (1 or 1 ½ inch thin slices)
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk or non-fat milk (for non-vegans) – 1 cup
  • Curry powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Low fat oil (sunflower or canola) – 2 tsp + for deep frying


  1. Cut the brinjals into 1 or 1 ½ inch thin slices till you have about 2 cups.
  2. Deep fry the brinjal slices they brown and keep aside.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan and sauté the onion and curry leaves with the fenugreek seeds for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the brinjal slices to the pan. Mix and fry for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the ½ cup of tamarind extract and simmer for a few minutes before adding the coconut milk or non-fat milk and the curry powder and salt, to taste.
  6. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Finally, add the sugar, mix and quickly remove from heat. For curries that use tamarind, it is good to add some sugar at the end, just before removing from the stove, as it enhances the flavours.
  8. Serve with pittu or rice.

(c) Pittu with Katharikkai Vathakkal


Time taken : 35 – 40 mins

Serves 3 to 4


Pittu with Katharikkai Vathakkal


  • For pittu, ingredients are the same as for kulal pittu – see (a) above
  • Brinjals – 2
  • Onion – ½
  • Chilli – 1
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame oil – 2 tbsp


  1. For the regular pittu, follow steps 1 and 2 as for the kulal pittu. Then, mix in the freshly scraped coconut into the bowl of tiny flour balls. Steam the pittu mix in a normal steamer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Wash and clean the brinjals. Cut the brinjals lengthwise and then finely chop them into small pieces. Sprinkle some salt over the chopped pieces. Mix and keep aside.
  3. Finely chop up the onion and chilli.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped brinjal pieces to the pan and fry them for 5 mins.
  5. Add the chopped onions and continue frying for another 5 mins. If needed, add a little more oil.
  6. At the end, add the curry powder, mix and fry for a couple of minutes before removing from heat.
  7. Serve the pittu with the katharikkai vathakkal.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

4 thoughts on “Pittu with Katharikkai

  1. Pingback: Brinjal Curry | A Taste of Sri Lankan cuisine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s