Vangi baath is a South Indian rice dish that’s made with eggplant and a really fragrant spice mixture made from urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, dried coconut, dried red chili and curry leaves. I’ve written the recipe down that my mother had from her Aunt below, but if you don’t have these ingredients, you can buy the spice mixture at the Indian store. MTR brand makes a good one. I had these little eggplants from my farm share, but you can use the regular Italian or Chinese eggplants for this dish too.
I actually made this for my Brooklyn Winery supper earlier in the year and it was a hit. This was a rice that my family would make when we’d go on long car rides or on picnics. It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is. Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but I like the combo of onions, eggplant and green pepper and I’ve also made it with cauliflower too. My mom recently made this rice for Thanksgiving and added fried peanuts to the mix which was really good. I usually serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.
I made vangi baath for my friend Mia when she came to visit from LA and she took this pic of it in the pan. Even though I really hate using a non-stick pan, I recommend it for this dish when frying the eggplant and rice so it doesn’t stick!
Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder
In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil. Add in the onion and fry until translucent. Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.
Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked. Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables. Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.
Dry roast –
3/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup urad dal
Fry in ghee –
4 1 inch size cinnamon
10 pepper corns
2 cups coriander seeds
1 cup dried red chili
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3-4 strands of curry leavesCool and grind all of the above. Mix in 1/2 cup of dried coconut (optional as you can add fresh frozen when you are making the rice itself)