Vaangi Baath (Six servings)

Rice 2 cups

Onion 2 (medium-sized)

Eggplant 2 cups (diced)

Sesame 2 tbsp

Mustard seed or cumin seeds 1 tsp

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Masala ingredients:

Cinnamon 2″ piece

Clove 4

Dried red chillies 5

Pepper corns 10

Coriander seeds 1½ tbsp

Chana dal 2 tbsp

Urad dal 1 tbsp

Desiccated coconut or grated coconut 4 tbsp

Curry leaves 5 sprigs

Tamarind  4 to 5 scales

Ghee 1 tsp

Oil    2 tbsp

Salt  1¼ tsp (heapful) or 2 level tsp

Take the rice in a bowl, rinse well, add a spoon of oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 cups of water. Cook the rice till done. Do not open the cooker for at least 10 minutes. Then transfer  the rice to a big platter or a wide bowl and let it cool.

While the rice is cooking dry roast the sesame  and keep aside. Powder the sesame after it cools.

Add  a few drops of ghee to the hot pan and roast cinnamon and clove. Transfer to a plate;  add a few drops of oil and roast red chillies, and in the same pan roast the pepper corns and dhania seeds. Transfer to t he plate and roast the dal till it changes color. Let all the ingredients cool. Transfer all the ingredients to the blender and add coconut, tamarind and curry leaves too. Powder them finely and keep it ready.

Heat oil in a frying pan and temper with mustard seeds or cumin seeds. When it starts spluttering add the onions and saute well. When the color starts changing add the turmeric powder and mix well. Add the diced eggplant, salt and cook on a low flame after covering with a lid.  Switch off the flame when the vegetable is cooked and add the condiments powder and also the sesame powder and mix well.

Transfer the mix to the cooled rice and mix well.

Chef’s note: If you want a variation and more color to the rice, use 2 medium-sized tomatoes in place of tamarind. Add the finely cut tomatoes to the sauteed onions and when cooked add the eggplant and proceed as directed.

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