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Brinjal Rice (Vaangi Bhath)
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Serves: 4 to 6 people
Spice Level: Medium
Authentic Vaangi Bhath is made using fresh and tender long-green brinjals (also called Mysore brinjals) only, as the purple brinjal variety is not sweet enough for this dish. To enhance the taste further, you can sauté the brinjals in vegetable oil. The imli (tamarind) in the recipe can sometimes be replaced with lemon juice to create a taste distinct from the original recipe.
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The word ‘vaangi’ means ‘brinjal’ in Kannada, so ‘Vaangi Bhath’ literally translates to ‘Brinjal Rice’. A signature dish of Karnataka, this delicious and spicy concoction is specially prepared to mark festivals such as the Vara Maha Lakshmi Vrata and Diwali. Vaangi Bhath is prepared by mixing rice and brinjals in a homemade spice powder, and then cooked in tamarind (imli) sauce. For a long while, the recipe of the main ingredient—the Vaangi Bhath powder—had remained a well-guarded family secret, one that was passed on to the next generation like a sacred heirloom. The dish ultimately became so popular that MTR Foods came up with a ready-to-use Vangi Bhath Powder Mix, which has today found takers all over the country.
- Rice (2 cups)
- Long green brinjals (baingan), slit vertically and cut into 4 pieces each (5)
- Roasted peanuts (moongfali) (2 tbsp)
- Tamarind (imli), thick extract (1 tbsp)
- Jaggery (gud) (1 tbsp)
- Oil (2 tbsp)
- Mustard seeds (rai), small reddish (1 tbsp)
- Split black gram (dhuli urad dal) ( 1 tsp)
- Curry leaves (kadipatta) (5 to 6)
- Dry red chillies (sabut lal mirch) (2 to 3)
- Green chillies (hari mirch), slit (2)
- Asafoetida (hing) (a pinch)
- MTR Vangi Bhath Powder (4 tbsp)
- MTR Haldi Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)
- Salt (to taste)
- Wash the rice thoroughly and then cook it in a deep vessel in 4-inch-high water till well-done. (Spoon out a few grains and press them between your fingers to check if they are fully cooked; make sure that their core isn’t hard.)
- Drain out the starch, transfer the rice onto a big thali and spread it out evenly. Allow it to cool.
- Once the rice has cooled, gently mix in 1 tbsp of oil, taking care that the rice grains remain unbroken.
- Next, heat oil in a pan on a high flame till it starts to give off smoke. Add the rai and as it begins to splutter, add the chana dal, urad dal, broken sabut lal mirch, hing and kadipatta. Sauté till the lentils turn golden brown in colour.
- Add in the brinjals and the green chillies and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or till the vegetables are well-coated with the oil and the lentils.
- Add the imli, gud, MTR Vangi Bhath Powder and MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder and mix well. Stir in the salt.
- Cover the pan and keep cooking on a medium flame for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir intermittently.
- Check to see if the brinjals have softened.
- Add in the cooked rice and the roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Transfer the Vaangi Bhath to a dish and serve hot with raita and pappadams.