Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam, Baingan-Kothmiri ki Sabzi
Baingan ki Bhaji or Vankaya Vepudu or Aubergine Fry
Gutti Vankaya Koora
Gutti Vankaya Ulli Kharam
As I looked through the recipes I have written about, I see that I have a lot that feature brinjal (aka aubergine or eggplant). My family loves brinjals of all shapes and sizes. Given that the biryani-pulao roundup I did a few days ago was well-received, I thought I would do one that features brinjals.
This post features only those recipes which use baby brinjals or gutti vankaya as call them in Telugu.
So here goes:
Dahiwale Achari Bainganwas new for me as well and I was bowled over by the combination of spices and the spicy taste.
Vankaya Kothimeera Kharamuses a simple masala made from coriander, green chillies, and ginger to spice up some fried baby brinjals.
This recipe has been an eye-opener as far as the taste of “achari” dishes goes. Achar means pickle in Hindi (by extension achari is anything “pickle-y”, if there is any such word.) And I’m now officially in love with Kalonji or Nigella seeds. This is the first time I have used this spice and look forward to exploring its various facets.
Last week, we were debating what to make for dinner when my brother had this urge to eat something spicy. Given that we were in the middle of a “clean out the refrigerator”, our limitations were pretty limited. All we had was the large Brinjals (aubergines). When I suggested that we make Bharta, I was roundly and soundly rebuffed.
Given that these where Bharta Baingan, I could not make Bharli Vangi. Baigun Bhaja was discussed and discarded. Doi Sorshe Baigun did not seem to appeal either.
As I am wont to do in such trying situations, I turned to the internet and so came upon this Achari Baingan recipe by Tarla Dalal. Believe you me, this is a recipe you want to try; and as soon as possible. It is spicy, it is tangy and the gravy lends itself of a variety of vegetables. If you don’t like aubergines, substitute them with fried potatoes, paneer, or even lady finger. I will be trying other variations of this recipe soon!
Vangi Bhaat is one of those classic dishes that is popular at Maharashtrian weddings and religious functions. I have always loved its mild flavour and am tempted to make it every time I see small plump brinjals (vangi = brinjals in Marathi) in the market.
Adding the star anise segment is a secret that one of my Maharashtrian friends told me about and I love the fragrance that star anise lends to the dish!
Ingredients for the Vangi Bhaat Masala
Red Chillies – 3 or 4
Udad Dal – 2 tsp
Chana Dal – 2 tsp
Cinnamon – 2″ pieces
Cloves – 4 or 5
Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
Star Anise – 1 Segment
Oil – 2 tsp
Ingredients for the Rice
Rice – 1.5 Cups
Small/Baby Brinjals – 8 to 10
Onion – 1 Medium sized (optional)
Cashew Nuts – 8 to 10
Peanuts – 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Tamarind Pulp – 1/2 tsp
Jaggery – 1/4 tsp (Optional)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Red Chillies – 2 or 3
Curry Leaves – A Few
Salt to Taste
Method for Making Vangi Bhaat Masala
Heat the oil.
Fry udad dal and chana dal till golden brown.
Add the cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a minute.
Add coriander seeds, star anise segment, and red chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Grind to a fine powder.
Method for Making the Vangi Bhaat
Pressure cook the rice with 2.5 Cups of water.
Spread on a plate to cool.
Cut the brinjals into quarters.
Chop the onion finely.
In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Add the split cashew nuts and peanuts.
Fry for about 2 minutes or till the peanuts start to pop.
Add the red chillies and fry for a minute.
Add the onion and fry till it is transparent.
Add the brinjal pieces and fry till cooked.
Add the Vangi Bhaat masala and fry for about a minute.
Add the tamarind pulp and jaggery.
Cook till the jaggery melts.
Add the curry leaves.
Add the rice and mix well.
Add salt and mix well.
Serve hot with papad, vadiyalu or vadams.
You can add about 2 tbsp of copra or freshly grated coconut to the Vangi Bhaat masala.
You can add about 1/4 tsp of turmeric to the step 12 when making the rice.
You know the brinjal is cooked when you can cut it with the spoon or ladle.
You could add a splash of water in step 11 to make the brinjals cook faster.