Vangi Bath

Sometimes all you have time for is a one pot dish which is simple in nature but still really tasty. I think Vangi Bath [v-AA-ngi  bath], is one such dish which can even use leftover rice to make things even quicker. When I am really pushed for time I also use the MTR Vangi Bath masala powder which I think is still flavoursome, but you can’t beat adding freshly ground spices when you have enough time. I really like eating this with a cooling Raita and some crunchy Paapad/Pappadam’s 🙂  Vangi Bath keeps really well so is a great take-away dish for picnics or if you are travelling around and need to eat on the go.
Please note there is some prep work which you can do in advance e.g. the Vangi bath powder (masala) and roasting the peanuts.
What you need:
For the Vangi bath powder (masala)
  • Coriander seeds –  3 tblsp
  • Red chillies – 4
  • Channa dal – 2 tblsp
  • Sesame seeds –  1 tblsp
  • Cinnamon stick  – a 1/4 inch piece
  • Kopparai | dry coconut  – 2 tblsp  – this is hard to get in some places so don’t worry if you can’t and you can just leave it out.   
For the rice
  • Basmati rice  1 cup – in the photos I used leftover broken Basmati rice, but wholegrain Basmati is definitely nicer
  • Onion   1 large – sliced into half rings
  • Aubergine – 1   cut into medium sized cubes (careful not to cut them too small as otherwise they may just disintegrate as they cook)
  • Green Bell Pepper / Capsicum – 1 large – chopped into cubes
  • Tamarind juice – 1 cup
  • Vangi bath powder (see above)   3-4 tsp depending on how spicey  you like it
  • Mustard seeds  1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal   1 tsp
  • Curry leaves  – a spring (4 – 5 leaves)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Peanuts  2 tblsps – roasted – you can also use Cashew nuts instead if you prefer, but I think peanuts go really well with this dish.
  • Coriander leaves – a handful chopped finely
  • Salt  – to taste
  •  Oil   1 tblsp
How to make it:
  1. Dry roast all the ingredients needed for the Vangi Bath powder and allow it to cool. Then grind them all to a fine powder and keep aside.
  2. Cook the rice with 1 and half cup of water and allow it to cool completely (you can use leftover rice as well). Ideally you need to have separated grains of rice so that the mixture can be combined well later.
  3. Heat a large saucepan/kadai and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start popping add the urad dal and curry leaves.
  4. Add the sliced onions to the pan and saute until golden brown.
  5. Then add the aubergines, bell peppers, salt  and turmeric powder.
  6. Cook the mixture on a medium flame till the aubergines and peppers become tender – careful not to burn!
  7. Add the prepared Vangi bath masala powder, tamarind juice and gently mix with the aubergine mixture.  Leave to simmer with the lid off on a low flame for about 5 minutes so the tamarind cooks off a little.
  8. Add the rice and ensure all the grains are coated well with the liquid mixture. Try and do this gently so the aubergines are not squashed during the mixing.
  9. Finally garnish with the peanuts and chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy!

You can also roast the aubergine cubes in advance and then just add them as per the recipe. You just have to make sure they don’t over cook during the roasting process as otherwise the aubergines may disintegrate during the cooking process.