Friday, October 2, 2015

Dinner in minutes: Eggplant Rice aka Vangi Bhath

While at the store the other day, I came across a spice blend called Vangi Bhath. Vangi means eggplant or aubergine and Bhath means Rice. This melange of fried aubergine said and rice with the spice blend makes a divine dish in minutes and tastes heavenly when served well th a side of Yoghurt.

Vangi Bhath is a dish commonly prepared in most South Indian states. Tempted, I picked up a packet of MTR Vangi Bhath powder in hopes of making a one pot dish on nights that I'm not in the mood the cook.

The hubby loves eggplant, I'm not particularly fond of it, however I will eat Eggplant in this form without complaints as it tasted so delicious. Using the elongated thin skinned asian variety of eggplants work best for this dish, sliced in long batons, the eggplants should be sprinkled with salt to remove extra moisture and bitterness. Allow the eggplants to sit for a few minutes on a colander and then lightly squeeze out any moisture. Having precooked rice is a plus, or just make a fresh pot cooked al dente (90% cooked) so that the rice absorbs some of the spices in the final stages of cooking.

Vangi Bhath

250 gms eggplant, chopped and salted and set on a colander
4 cups cooked rice
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste
2-4 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp MTR Vangi Bhath powder
1/2 cup water
1 sprig curry leaves and 2 dry red chillies ( optional )
2 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
1/2 tbsp channa dal, raw
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Allow chopped and salted eggplant to release its moisture, squeeze out any remaining moisture and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan and when hot add the channa dal, mustard seeds, peanuts, curry leaves allow everything to sizzle and then add the eggplant. Cook on a high flame until the eggplants acquire a light browning. Add the tamarind paste, MTR Vangi Bhath spice mix and half cup water. Allow the spice to blend and then add the cooked rice, toss gently to prevent rice from breaking up. Cover and cook for about 5 mins on a very low flame. Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves and serve with a bowl of yoghurt or raita.

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