Traditionally, vangi baath is a pulav/fried rice that has only one vegetable in it and that is the aubergine which gives the dish its’ name.
But when I decided to make it for dinner tonight,along with some khatti-meethi daal, I felt there ought to be a dash of green in our meal.
So I made this rice dish today with aubergines and green beans.
The girls don’t know what the original is like, in any case, and Shri usually gamely goes along with all these variations to the classics!
This recipe is adapted from the one in Viji Varadarajan’s “Samayal”, a book about South Indian vegetarian cuisine.
2 cups of rice, cooked-with a little salt- beforehand in 3 cups of water (which makes this recipe a great way to use leftover rice)
1 thin and long aubergine, diced
1 medium-sized tomato
1 cup of chopped green beans (optional)
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 green chilly , slit in to half (optional)
1/2 or 3/4 of a teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of pitlai powder
3-4 tablespoons of thick tamarind juice
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. After a few seconds, when the seeds crackle, add the green chilly, the onions and sauté till the onions start to look translucent. Add the beans, cover the pan and cook till they start to soften just a little. Now add the aubergine, cover and cook again till the aubergines begin to soften too, turning everything over once in a while.
Now add the tomato and fry for a few minutes till the tomatoes begins to become quite soft. Add the spices next, fry for a minute or two, then add the tamarind juice and mix it in well. Season the vegetables with salt, add the rice – separate the grains gently with a fork first – and fry for a few more minutes till everything is thoroughly mixed.
I might try this dish without the tomato – and with peanuts – another time, since I think I remember eating it like that a long time ago.
Tonight, the girls each asked for a second helping of the vangibath with a little ghee, and I tried that too. Yum !