Sri Lankan eggplant/brinjal pickle(wambatu moju).
Fried eggplant, shallots, green chillies mixed with mustard-vinegar to pickle the vegetables, giving it a combo of sweet, sour and heat.
In my teens, I was never ever a fan of brinjals, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people actually liked the purple vegetable with its meaty texture.
That all changed with two dishes,
The first was when I had a taste of a well-balanced brinjal moju AND the second was a gorgeous meaty, eggplant heavy moussaka, these two dishes helped me get over my dislike of the vegetable.
Brinjal pickle or as we call it wambatu moju in Sinhalese, adds a layer of taste that is pure joy to sink your taste buds into.
The combo of sweet and sour, the crunch of the shallots, the deep-fried brinjals all work well to give you this vegetable pickle.
You’ll have every opportunity to taste wambatu moju(eggplant moju)if you ever set foot in a Sri Lankan restaurant or home, the dish is a classic and found in most Sri Lankan menus.
Nothing to do with the recipe, just archiving little moments in my life to do with the family, if you are in a hurry to get to the recipe you can skip this part.
Little things, big feelings…….
Once ever so often a little piece of my life enters the blog, these can be feelings and moments I would like to reflect later.
If you are really in a hurry to get to the recipe, please scroll down to the recipe but I would suggest that you continue reading this part of the post, there’s a lesson somewhere in this short paragraph you might relate to.
Today I watched my youngest wearing her shoes………
It took me a few minutes to realize that she didn’t ask me to help her, 6.00 o’clock in the morning is not exactly the time to start with the waterworks but I sure did choke on a few tears.
A few years back, I couldn’t wait for my kids to grow up, they were my terrible four and they were honest to god real terrors, some days it felt like I was being pulled, prodded and made to take sides in four directions.
I used to wish for a fast-forward button or time to just move a bit quicker so each one of them could just grow up and do their own thing.
When she(18), started with wanting her own room to being a typical teenage girl who knew what she wanted and wanted to do everything on her own, I thought, “well, that’s o.k, I’ve got three more who needs me and I can’t wait for them to grow up quick”.
Then he(17), started grooving to his own tune,”two down, two to go, I’m going to be free to do a bit of my own thing, maybe go out and have fun with my friends”.
And then, he(12), not grown up yet but he’s been watching and following the footsteps of his elder siblings is just about to break loose from his mama’s clutches.
And it hit me,
I’m almost close to ending the first stages of bringing up my kids, helping them with tiny things that they couldn’t do on their own.
And today when I watched her(7) wearing her shoes, I realized she’s the last one. although not grown up yet, she’s doing all her own things than any of the three combined.
I thought I’ll be glad, I thought I’ll start doing a happy jig….. not choking on tears that my babies are almost grown-up.
That’s how fast time flies, I’ve been worrying about the chores, basically doing what every other mother does out there except savoring those little moments that create memories for life.
That’s not to say I haven’t savored and enjoyed moments with them mind you, I wish I had done it more.
I know there’s a long way to go and they’ll still need me but there are times, I find myself going back in time to capture that moment each of my babies were laid on my chest when they were born.
The first smiles and the way each one of them grabbed my finger or held my face between their tiny little hands.
So to my readers, I say, try to enjoy your time with your little ones, savor the moments with your grandkids, you’ll never get them back. they grow too fast.
Brinjals, eggplant, aubergines are they different?
No, they are not, they all refer to the same vegetable, depending on which part of the world you hail from.
Why you should always buy and cook fresh/new eggplant.
It all comes down to the fact that the longer they are kept after being picked the bitter the eggplant will taste. if you ever wondered why your eggplant dishes have a bitter taste, it’s because of how long the eggplant had been on the vegetable aisle in your supermarket.
What exactly is wambatu moju?
This explanation is for readers who are not familiar with Sri Lankan food or wondering what the”wambatu moju”term means.
“Wambatu moju”is the Sinhalese term used for the eggplant pickle recipe we are making here.
The taste of the dish is both sour, sweet and slightly spicy.
A better description of the dish would be to say that wambatu moju takes on the quality of both a pickle and a relish.
The balance of sweet and sour, especially makes this dish a favorite to add to various festive occasions.
There are a few variations of this dish out there but the basic cooking of the dish follows the same steps.
How do I cut the eggplants?
You have to cut the eggplant into long or short strips, not thin but thicker strips.
Cutting them to the same size will help all the eggplant strips to fry evenly.
If you have a few shorter strips of eggplant fry them separately so they don’t get burnt.
How long do I fry the eggplant slices?
Fry them in smaller batches while keeping a steady heat so they gradually fry evenly, what you are looking for is to have the eggplant fried to a deep brown.
Workflow for making wambatu moju(eggplant/brinjal pickle).
The dish comes together in two stages, first, the ingredients are fried, brinjals separately followed by green chillies and shallots.
Then they are added to a gravy/sauce made with spices and other ingredients to give the dish it sour and sweet taste.
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Reader’s comments and review for the recipe Sri Lankan wambotu moju(eggplant/brinjal pickle.
“Thank you so much for this recipe. It came out really well. In fact, all your recipes I’ve tried so far have turned out amazing!”
Sri Lankan wambatu moju
Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.
Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.
2-3 cups of oil
500g eggplant cut into thick strips(see notes above)
100g medium-sized green chillies
1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste(2-3 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger piece)
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder(pound the mustard or use a grinder for this purpose)
2 tablespoons of Sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
Salt to season
Cut the eggplant to the required size(see notes above).
Place the thick strips of eggplant in a bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and turmeric to the bowl, combine, cover and leave it for 10 minutes.
Place a frying pan over medium heat and pour in the oil, gradually increase heat for the oil to reach frying temperature.
Make sure you have a steady oil temperature, do not let it smoke, this would lead to burnt strips of eggplant.
If the oil does reach the smoking point, turn off the heat and start heating the oil again(after a few minutes of course).
Gently squeeze out any extra liquid off the eggplant strips and fry them(see notes above)until they turn dark in color, you can either fry them until they turn golden in color or a dark brown.
Place the fried eggplant/brinjal in paper towels to absorb oil.
Once the eggplant/brinjals are fried, add the shallots to the oil and fry them for a minute followed by green chillies fried for a minute as well, place these with the brinjals in paper towels.
To a bowl add mustard, ginger-garlic paste, salt to season, chilli powder, mustard powder, sugar and vinegar, combine well until sugar dissolves, taste the sauce and see if there is a balance of taste between sour, sweet and heat. adjust accordingly.
Add the fried brinjals/eggplant, shallots, green chillies and combine well, season if necessary. set aside for at least 1-2 hours before serving for a better tasting wambatu moju.
It’s free and on the blog, for you to try anytime.
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