Vambotu Pahi
20 Min

Vambotu Pahi

Just like India, Sri Lanka has a plethora or pickles, sambals and preserves and they are what really make a meal special. This eggplant one is one of our favorites and has inspired an entire menu of pickles at our restaurant Pondicheri. Always sharply spiced and salted, they are meant to be eaten in small quantities alongside meals.
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Cook Time

20 Minutes + curing time



Step 1
Cut the eggplants and sprinkle with salt and set aside for a couple of hours. Drain on paper towels.
Step 2
In a small wok or a saucepan over high heat, warm the frying oil until ready to fry (around 325°F).
Step 3
Drop the eggplant pieces into the oil and fry until golden brown and cooked on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Step 4
To the same oil, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
Step 5
Add the cumin, chile, coriander, fennel and salt and cook for another minute.
Step 6
Finally add the tamarind and sugar and simmer for just a minute or two. The oil should surface on the top – this will help preserve the pickle. Refrigerate for up to a month.

1 pound baby eggplants

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 cup frying oil like rice bran, olive or avocado

Pickle Masala:

1/2 cup grated onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

1 tablespoon red chile powder

1 teaspoon toasted crushed coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground fennel

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup tamarind extract

2 teaspoons sugar

20 Min

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