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Vangi Bath

Vangi Bath (Eggplant Rice)

Eggplant – the vegetable that goes by several names, Aubergine, Brinjal, and Baigan to name a few, is not your definite crowd-pleaser. While there are a lot of people who love this humble, unassuming vegetable, there is also a significant group who have their reservations about it.

I was one of those people sitting on the fence, never fully believing in the culinary capabilities of this vegetable. But, that was before a friend of mine invited me to try his mom’s Vangi Bath (Eggplant Rice) for lunch. That lunch changed my perspective, and I became a big fan of Vangi Bath, as well as the hero ingredient, Eggplant (Aubergine/Brinjal).

 

Vangi Bath (Eggplant / Aubergine / Brinjal /Baigan Rice)

 

Vangi Bath (Eggplant Rice/Aubergine Rice), for the uninitiated, is a popular rice-based delicacy from the Karnataka cuisine, where small pieces of aubergine is cooked with select spices (vangi bath masala), and mixed with rice making it a meal in itself.

This delicacy now features in my favourite one-pot meals, or more appropriately in my favourite one-pan meals.

When I thought of cooking this flavoured rice myself, I knew that none of the recipes I can find online will match up to the original, great taste that converted me to a vangi bath lover. After exchanging many emails and Whatsapp messages with my friend, who lives in the US now, I drafted a recipe. A couple of attempts later, and with some tweaks that I managed myself, I present you the “take-it-easy” version of vangi bath!

I hope the creative freedom that I took, which altered the colour of the dish from a purist’s perspective, have still done justice to the recipe’s original kick-ass flavours and taste! In a true “take-it-easy” way, I have made the spice mix from scratch, but without making it too complicated.

You can use any good shop-bought, ready-to-use vangi bath powder mix, but where is the joy in cooking then!

Vangi Bath
Print Recipe
2 from 1 vote

Vangi Bath (Eggplant / Aubergine / Brinjal Rice)

Vangi Bath (Eggplant / Aubergine / Baigan Rice), is a popular rice-based delicacy from the Karnataka cuisine, where small pieces of aubergine is cooked with select spices (vangi bath masala), and mixed with rice making it a meal in itself.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Karnataka
Servings: 4 serving

Ingredients

For Vangi Bath powder

  • 4 chilies dry kashmiri
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon channa dal
  • 1/2 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon methi seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon

For frying

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 green chillies - slit lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon coconut dry - grated (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 onion medium (2 small)
  • 350 grams eggplant (brinjal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 cups rice cooked
  • to taste salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 sprig coriander leaves (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

  • Prep the ingredients - thinly slice the onions, and slit the green chilli lengthwise. Cook and keep the rice ready. I used Basmati rice, but any white rice will do.
  • We have two set of spices - one for the vangi bath mix, and the second one for frying in oil.
  • Heat a pan, and dry fry the vangi bath mix ingredients. I usually add dry chillies after the other ingredients turn golden brown. Dry chillies might burn if you add them in the beginning.
  • Set aside to cool. Blitz in a mixer to fine powder. This is our vangi bath mix.
  • Cut the eggplants (brinjal) to small pieces. Only the green variants of eggplant are used in the traditional recipes. I, however, used both green and purple varieties to get a good balance of colours!
  • Heat some oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, followed by bay leaf, cumin seeds, and cardamom.
  • Add onions, curry leaves, and green chillies. You can add some grated dry coconut (copra) at this stage (Optional).
  • Once the onions are tender, add the eggplant pieces.
  • Add turmeric, salt, and mix well.
  • Cover and cook on a low flame till the brinjal pieces are tender.
  • Add the ground Vangi bath mix. Mix well, and cook for a few minutes (without closing the lid) stirring occasionally.
  • Add 2 tablespoons water so that the rice (when we add it) will be moist enough.
  • Switch off the flame. Add 3 cups of boiled rice. Mix well so that masala gets evenly distributed, and the rice gets fully coated. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Adding olive oil is optional, but it enhances the flavours.
  • Vangi bath has a mild tanginess from the lime juice. Ideally (as seen in traditional recipes) you should squeeze in some lime juice to the rice. But I kept lime wedges separate so that it can be squeezed fresh just before eating. Garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). Enjoy with some cucumber raita (or any raita/cold yogurt).

Notes

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7 Comments

  1. 2 stars
    I’d never had this dish before, so maybe it’s a great version of what it is, but it wasn’t to my taste. There are all these great ingredients and it smelled great cooking, but the final product just tastes overwhelmingly of cumin. That’s really the only flavor I’m getting. And some heat. I was hoping it might be better after the flavors came together, but on day 2 it’s got more heat, but overall still just tastes like cumin. Yogurt kind of helps in that it dulls the cumin a bit, but… I don’t love it.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Liz,

      Thank you for your feedback.
      Not sure what went wrong there, but this has been a safe recipe for us for a weekday cooking.
      There is only 1 teaspoon cumin (1/2 in the vangi bath mix, and another half in the frying ingredients).
      If you are going to give it a try again, I recommend reducing the cumin to 1/4 and 1/4.

  2. Tried this today. For being such a quick fix is had a really intriguing amount of flavours, every bite seemed to have a slightly different nuance. Also the combination with raita made a huge difference, or even with just yogurt after our raita got finished. Looking forward to more inspiring recipes to come.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Julia, Thank you very much for trying out my vangi bath recipe. I am gleaming with joy reading through your comments. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope you’ll find more recipes on this blog interesting to try out!

  3. I loved your narration … will keep visiting your website
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Smith Sonian

    good one…love the pics!

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