Recipe: Vangibhath ~ Rice with spiced eggplant
Based on Vedavalli Venkatachary's recipe in 'How to cook?'
Serves : 4-5 persons
Recipe Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom
Ingredients:Method to prepare:
For the rice:
For the spice powder:
- 1.5 level cups, any aromatic rice (like basmati or ambemore), soaked for 20 minutes
- 3 cups water to cook rice
- 3 Dry red chillies (Sukhi lal mirchi), if you are using byadgi variety. If using spicier variety reduce as per taste.
- 2 tsps. Coriander seeds (Dhania)
- 1 tsp. Blackgram lentils - husked (Urad dal dhuli)
- 1 tsp. Bengalgram lentils (Chana dal)
- 1/8 tsp. Asafoetida (Hing)
- 1 tsp. sesame oil or sunflower oil
250g Small purple, round,firm brinjals/eggplants/aubergines (Baingan), chopped as shown below
- 1 tsp. Mustard seeds (Rai dana)
- 1 sprigs of curry leaves (kadi patte)
- 10 cashewnuts halved
- 1 tsp. oil
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. Sunflower or Sesame seed oil (I like to use the latter)
Preparing the rice:
- Pick and rinse rice, soaking it in just enough water for at least 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile heat the water in a pressure cooker. When boiling, add the drained rice and a tsp. of oil. Stir and put on the lid and whistle. Cook for 4 minutes on high. Reduce and cook for five minutes on reduced heat before putting off the gas. Set aside to allow the pressure go down naturally. After about 15 minutes open the lid and carefully spread the rice on a wide plate with a fork so as to not break the grains. Set aside to completely cool.
- Alternatively, you can cook it uncovered in an open vessel till just done. The grains should be cooked through but firm and separate.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in a wide wok. Roast all the spices separately, except asafoetida, till aromatic and till the colour of grams and spices changes to reddish brown. Remove and stir well adding the asafoetida. The curry leaves should be roasted enough to remove excess moisture by wilting but the colour should remain green. (See picture below)
Roasted spices for Vangibhath
- Cool and pound into a fine (not superfine) powder in a coffee grinder and set aside. See picture below;
- Cut the brinjal vertically. Lay it face down and cut lengthwise into three or four equal pieces. Hold them together and slice horizontally into thin wedges, as shown.
- Keep in salted water till needed. I like to keep it in a thin tamarind extract to retain the colour and prevent oxidation. Retain a tsp. of the water and discard rest or use up for some other dish.
- Heat the rest of the oil and crackle mustard seeds. Next add split cashews and fry till golden. Add curry leaves and let wilt. Drain and add sliced wedges of brinjal and fry till the vegetable is firm and just cooked. This should take about 3 minutes. I always add 1/2 a tsp. of salt to quicken the process. It is optional but adding only a tsp. of thin tamarind water (the one used for soaking the brinjal slices) towards the end adds a tang. Roast till dry.
- Add the spice powder and mix well.
- Remove from heat and add the cooled rice.
- Mix well till the spices cut uniformly into the rice and serve with wafers or pappadams.
- Every cooker behaves differently. Time it the same as you will for a pulav or biryani. The rice should be just cooked and the grains separate.
- This tastes best served at room temperature.
- Add the spice powder a tbsp. at a time and reserve some of the powder. Add if needed. This measure serves perfect but spice levels vary from person to person.
- Same with oil.
- You can add other vegetables as well but then it would not be 'vangibhath' though it tastes good.
- I always serve pappadams or wafers.
- The recipe looks elaborate because I have broken it down but it is extremely easy. You could prepare the spice powder in advance. It can be frozen and stays fresh for about a month.
- The tamarind water is optional. I like it.