The basic recipe is from Chandra Padmanabhan’s Southern Spice, a book that I turn to so much for anything South Indian. Don’t be deterred by the long list of ingredients to make Vangi Bath, it’s just a bit detailed because I have given very clear instructions to prepare it.
If you love eggplant or brinjal as much as we do, I highly recommend this szechuan egglant recipe, ennai kathirikkai kuzhambu, brinjal vindaloo which is my mom’s specialty, and this easy eggplant chutney recipe. More spicy rice dishes? Browse through all South Indian rice recipes and pick your favourite.
Vangi Bhath Recipe
1 cup cooked rice (I used ponni rice but basmati will work too)
A marble-sized ball of tamarind
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
6 small aubergines / eggplant / kathirikkai
For Spice Powder:
2 tsp oil
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2″ stick cinnamon
4 dry red chillies (I’d make it spicier next time)
3 tsp Bengal gram / Chana dal / Kadala paruppu
2 tsp Urad dal / ulatham paruppu / uzhunnu parippu
1 tbsp grated coconut (fresh, frozen or dessicated)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera / jeerakam
1/2 tsp asafoetida / hing / perungayam
1 dry red chilli, torn into pieces
1 sprig curry leaves
For Garnish (Optional)
2 tsp ghee
1/4 cup halved cashewnuts
How to Make Brinjal Rice
1. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 mins and extract juice. Add salt and turmeric to this and transfer to a pan.
2. Cube the brinjal and add to the tamarind juice and let soak for 15 mins.
3. Heat oil for spice powder in a pan and add remaining ingredients for spice powder. Fry till spices are fragrant and the dals turn golden brown. Cool and grind to a powder.
4. Heat ghee for garnish in the same pan (if using) and fry cashewnuts until golden brown. Set aside.
5. Heat oil for tempering in the same pan and add all the ingredients for tempering. When mustard seeds start popping, add the aubergines with the tamarind extract.
6. Cover pan and simmer for about 10 mins till the aubergines are tender and water is almost completely adsorbed.
7. Mix in the cooked rice and spice powder and remove from fire.
8. Garnish with the fried cashewnuts and serve warm with raita.