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Vangi bhath (Eggplant & lentil spiced rice)

Vangi bhath (literally ‘eggplant rice’) is a common dish from Karnataka, India. Like tamarind rice and lemon rice, it’s a one-bowl meal often prepared for festivals and travels as it has a relatively long shelf life, and is balanced thanks to the lentils and spices.

There are many versions of vangi bhath; Sapna’s mother-in-law’s version is one of the easiest. She dispensed with the more labourious preparations of the spices, and streamlined it into powdered mix, easy to freeze in larger batches for quick future meals.

Recipe originally appears as ‘Mum-in-law’s eggplant and lentil rice’ in New Indian Kitchen; shared with permission by author Sapna Anand.

Vangi bhath (Eggplant & lentil spiced rice)

by Sapna Anand

Vangi bhath (literally ‘eggplant rice’) is a common dish from Karnataka, India. Like tamarind rice and lemon rice, it’s a one-bowl meal often prepared for festivals and travels as it has a relatively long shelf life, and is balanced thanks to the lentils and spices.

There are many versions of vangi bhath; Sapna’s mother-in-law’s version is one of the easiest. She dispensed with the more labourious preparations of the spices, and streamlined it into powdered mix, easy to freeze in larger batches for quick future meals.

Recipe originally appears as ‘Mum-in-law’s eggplant and lentil rice’ in New Indian Kitchen; shared with permission by author Sapna Anand.

Servings: 4

Servings: 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 small long eggplants (purple or green)

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

2 cups cooked white rice

1 handful chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp ghee (optional)

 

FOR THE LENTIL SPICE POWDER:

¼ cup channa dal (yellow split pea)

2 tbsp urad dal (skinned split black gram)

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

2 stalks curry leaves, removed from the stem

1 tsp cumin seeds

3″ cinnamon stick

6 whole cloves

  1. Rinse and cut the eggplants into 3″ long pieces (about finger-length).  Soak the pieces in salted water for about 10 mins.
  2. Prepare the lentil spice powder: In a small pan over medium-low heat, dry roast the lentil spice powder ingredients. Stir constantly to make sure they do not burn, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool for a few minutes. Then grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add the vegetable oil. Put in the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the sliced onions and fry until the onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Drain the eggplant pieces and add them to the skillet. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplants have cooked and softened.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and add 3 heaped tablespoons of the lentil spice powder. Stir well to coat the eggplants evenly, adding more lentil spice powder if needed.
  6. Add the cooked rice and lightly toss to mix well, making sure not to mash the rice.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and ghee, if using. Serve warm with raitha or plain yogurt, and pickles.

Tips

  • If you don’t have a spice grinder to grind the lentils and spices, a mortar and pestle will do, but will take about 10 minutes to get the powder to a fine consistency.

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 small long eggplants (purple or green)

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

2 cups cooked white rice

1 handful chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp ghee (optional)

 

FOR THE LENTIL SPICE POWDER:

¼ cup channa dal (yellow split pea)

2 tbsp urad dal (skinned split black gram)

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

2 stalks curry leaves, removed from the stem

1 tsp cumin seeds

3″ cinnamon stick

6 whole cloves

Directions

  1. Rinse and cut the eggplants into 3″ long pieces (about finger-length).  Soak the pieces in salted water for about 10 mins.
  2. Prepare the lentil spice powder: In a small pan over medium-low heat, dry roast the lentil spice powder ingredients. Stir constantly to make sure they do not burn, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool for a few minutes. Then grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add the vegetable oil. Put in the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the sliced onions and fry until the onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Drain the eggplant pieces and add them to the skillet. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplants have cooked and softened.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and add 3 heaped tablespoons of the lentil spice powder. Stir well to coat the eggplants evenly, adding more lentil spice powder if needed.
  6. Add the cooked rice and lightly toss to mix well, making sure not to mash the rice.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and ghee, if using. Serve warm with raitha or plain yogurt, and pickles.

Tips

  • If you don’t have a spice grinder to grind the lentils and spices, a mortar and pestle will do, but will take about 10 minutes to get the powder to a fine consistency.

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