Vaangi Baath(Spiced Eggplant rice)

This is a recipe using the ‘All Purpose Masala Powder’ that I posted earlier. Its a quick and easy dish, that is perfect for a packed lunch to work or schools Its one of my favorite dishes, and as I was making this dish, I had memories of making this dish with my friends, when we were all interns in Bangalore. We hardly knew how to cook, but the joy of cooking together and sharing the meal together, makes for beautiful dishes and even more beautiful memories.

Ingredients:

2 cups basmati rice

2 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dal

2 tsp channa dal

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 red chillies, broken in half

1 red onion chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 sprig curry leaves

1 large American eggplant chopped

1/2 cup frozen green peas(optional)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp all purpose masala powder

1 tsp lemon juice(optional)

cilantro chopped for garnish

salt to taste

Method:

Cook the rice as you normally would and fluff it with a fork to seperate the grains. Set aside to cool a little bit. Leftover rice would be perfect for this dish, but make sure the grains are seperate before adding the eggplant mixture. For this, warm the rice in the microwave by sprinkling some water and covering with plastic wrap. Drizzle a tsp of oil and break any lumps as you seperate the grains. Let cool a little before mixing.

For the eggplant masala, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the dals and when they turn golden, add the broken cumin seeds. Add the broken red chillies and curry leaves. Then add the chopped onion and saute until it turns golden brown. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder and salt. Saute until the water from the tomatoes evaporates and the tomatoes are soft. Add the eggplant and fry. Now, eggplants are deceiving vegetables, in the sense, it would seem like you have a mountain of chopped eggplants, but remember they are 70% water, so they will shrink remarkably.

Let the eggplant cook down and add the chilli powder, garam masala and mix to combine. Add the peas and mix thoroughly. You don’t have to thaw the peas before adding them to the mix. Check for seasoning. Add the rice, cilantro, the all purpose masala powder and the lemon juice. Mix throughly until homogenous. Check for seasoning, and add a drizzle of gingelly oil for extra flavor. Serve hot with raita.

Verdict: Spicy and comforting food..The peas add contrast in texture taste and color to this dish. Traditional Vaangi baath preparation uses a tad bit of tamarind at the end. But, I feel the lemon juice adds a different tartness and freshness to the dish.

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