Saturday, September 18, 2021

Vaangi Bath / Eggplant Rice

This is a traditional rice dish from south India. The fresh roasted and ground spice powders make this rice heavenly. This is a vegan recipe. This can be served with papad and/or yogurt (use plant based yogurt for complete vegan meal option).

This rice is easy to make and is a crowd pleaser. The aroma of the fresh ground spices makes it special and addictive. Traditional recipe uses a mixture of chana dal (bengal gram) and urad dal. Since, we have a member intolerant to chana dal, I ususally substitute with urad dal of the same quantity. Use 2 tablespoons of chana dal in this recipe, if you plan to add.

Also, I love to add lots of veggies. So, I add lots and lots of eggplants, but it is not excess, this is the right amount for a perfect balance between rice and veggie. Also, to keep the shape of the eggplants and not get mushy, do not chop into fine pieces. Chop them to 1.5-in cubes and they would be perfect when cooked completely. Bigger slices can be made, but adjust the cooking for better texture.

Tamarind adds to the tanginess. Tamarind paste can also be used. If you don't have tamarind, once rice is added, add a little lemon juice to balance the flavors, mix, and serve.

Any rice can be used. It is important to cook them to individual grains and not to a mushy texture. I have used Basmati as my kids love to have that rice variety. Adjust the quantity of water according to rice used.

These are great for lunch or dinner. Leftovers can be stored in fridge and reheated in microwave before serving. Frozen lima beans can also be added when the eggplants are half cooked. This adds to the proteins too. A papad is the best pair for this. Or chips are also lovely. Yogurt can also be great with this rice.

September is NationalRiceMonth and in our #OurFamilyTable we are celebrating this by sharing recipes in an event. Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventure is hosting the "Raveable Rice Recipes". Vaangi baath is our all time favorite and am sharing the same for this event. We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!


Basmati - rice - 1.5 cups
water - 2 and 3/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp

Eggplants - 5 and 1/2 cups, cubed
Oil - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup

To Roast and Grind

Oil - 1 tbsp
Dried red chilies - 5 -7
Kashmiri red chili - 2
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1.5 tbsp
Urad dhal - 3 tbsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 2-in piece

For tempering

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 or 2 sprigs
Asafetida - 1/4 tsp


Boil the water, add rice, salt, oil and let the rice cook. When more than 3/4th of the liquid is absorbed by the grain, lower the flame, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Transfer the rice to a bog container and let it cool completely.

Heat oil in a pan, add the urad dhal and fry for 1-2 minutes till golden brown. Add the coriander seeds, fenugreek, cloves, and cinnamon and roast for another couple of minutes. Add the coconut and roast for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Transfer to blender and blend to a powder with a little coarse texture.

Soak the tamarind in quarter cup water and extract the juice. Set aside.

Heat oil in a dutch oven or iron kadai, add the red chilies and mustard. When it splutters add the split urad dhal, curry leaf, and asafetida. Once the dal is golden brown in color, drain the eggplants and add to the pot. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until more than half cooked. Add turmeric, salt, and mix thoroughly.

Add the tamarind juice, combine well, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Next, add the ground fresh spice powder. Mix thoroughly for even distribution taking care not to smush the eggplants. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Lower the flame, add the rice, mix and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro. Switch off the flame.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with papad and/or yogurt.

Raveable Rice Recipes

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