Tag Archives: pitlai podi

Vangi Baath: An unorthodox variation

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 !

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Pitlai Podi

Indira loves to hang around the kitchen when I make a batch of this podi, because its’ preparation involves one of her favorite culinary processes – the roasting and grinding of coriander seeds.

The quantities mentioned here will make enough podi to fill a little pot or jar and which will keep well for a couple of months in the refrigerator.

Pitlai Podi

6 tablespoons of coriander seeds

2 tablespoons of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils)

4 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut

1/4 teaspoon of asofetida

1 large dry red chilli (optional)

In a frying pan, roast the coriander seeds at a medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently so that the seeds don’t go too brown or burn.

Take the seeds out in to a bowl and in the same pan, roast the red chilli and daal (till the latter turns a light brown) in a teaspoon of sunflower oil.

Remove the lentils in to the same bowl as the seeds.  Now roast the coconut in the same frying pan till it turns a golden brown color.

When they have cooled, grind all the ingredients together in to a powder – it  doesn’t have to have too fine a texture – and store in an air-tight bottle or jar.

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Carrot and Green Bell Pepper Pulao

One day I will cook a “pilaf”, just to be able to post about it so I get to use the word pilaf, which I love  because it has such an exotic ring about it !

In the meanwhile – this is the recipe for the pulao I wrote about last summer but which I haven’t made since, until this past weekend. I have adapted it from the original recipe which is in Viji Varadrajan’s “Samayal”, a cookbook about the cuisine of the Tanjore and Palghat regions of southern India.

In the summer last year it was Noor who said she loved this pulao. Then on Sunday it was Indira who wanted to know if there’s be enough left over for Monday. I guess that means we can put it in the Favorites Foods column.  Or at least for now, for they may change their minds in some weeks in their sometimes fickle way 🙂

(An update to that from 15 Sep 2010 – Indira said again, when we had this for dinner last night, that she loves this pulav)

The use of the podi is what gives it it’s distinctive, delicious taste.

Carrot and Green Bell Pepper Pulao

Basmati rice – 1 cup

1 large green bell pepper, sliced fine

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced in to thin half-moons

1 tablespoon of Pitlai podi

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

lime juice, to taste (but at least 1 tablespoon)

3/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds

8-10 curry leaves

salt, to taste (or say about 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons for the rice and 1/2 a teaspoon to be added while cooking the vegetables)
Wash and soak the rice in cold water for 20-30 minutes, then cook it with a little less than twice the amount of water (I use an electric rice cooker and therefore add 2 and a half cups of water) with salt added in.

Let the rice cool before you start to cook the vegetables so that you are able to separate the grains of rice gently, by hand or with a flat spoon, without breaking the grains.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. When these begin to crackle, add the carrots and fry them on a medium high heat till they are soft enough without being mushy (i.e. they should retain a bite).  A few minutes before you think the carrots will be done, add the bell pepper slices and fry everything together till the latter are cooked (I prefer that these should retain a bite too) as well.

Add the salt, the turmeric powder and Pitlai podi and fry everything for another couple of minutes.

Now add the rice, mix it with the vegetables, then put the lime juice and  toss everything together gently but quite well over 4-5 minutes.

This makes a very nice meal with varan and salad, or just a raita in the summer.





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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths