3 June, 2014
Eggplant spiced brown rice (vaangi bhaath)
Another brown rice dish, in a spicy bhaath that will make the ‘brownness’ not easy to detect! Filling and flavorful, makes a complete meal with yogurt/raita. This is a “saatvik” version without onion and garlic.
Here, the spice mix is most important for the flavor and aroma that makes it unique among the south-Indian rice dishes. Once made, it can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Here’s the way it is prepared:
Add coconut, turn off heat.
Use a spice grinder to make a coarse powder.
For cooking brown rice: Soak 2 cups of brown Basmati rice (I recommend Laxmi brand) for about 2 hours. Longer duration is better to improve digestibility of the grain. Change water a couple of times; the turbidity of the water will disappear and any husks floating on top can be removed.
I use a pressure cooker to cook the rice with 3 cups of fresh water (rice:water is 1:1.5) and a pinch of salt. Do not use too much water, in order to get a fluffy texture. After it is done cooking (remove any excess water) spread in a wide vessel to cool. Add salt and 1 tbsp. oil, mix lightly.
For the eggplant mix: Use a shallow pan, add oil, add seasoning, eggplant, salt and tamarind extract. Cook closed till eggplant is tender.
Add spice mix, and it is ready!
All that remains is to mix with cooled rice, mixing lightly, then add roasted nuts and garnish with cilantro.
eggplant brown rice (vaangi bhaath)
Chinese eggplant- 3 medium (baby eggplants can be used as well)
brown Basmati rice (Laxmi) – 2 cups
tamarind- a small bit or 1/2 tsp. of paste
raw peanuts and cashews- 1/4 cup
curry leaves- a few
mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp.
star anise- 1
bay leaf- 2
(organic) canola oil- 2 tbsp.
for spice mix:
chana dal- 2 tbsp.
urad dal- 2 tbsp.
dry red chilly- 2-3
coriander seeds- 2 tbsp.
asafoetida- a bit or 2 tsp. of powder
cinnamon stick- 1 small
sesame seeds- 1 tbsp.
shredded coconut- 2 tbsp.
* Rinse brown rice and soak for 1-2 hours.
* Prepare spice mix: Roast all the ingredients except coconut in 1 tsp. oil, till lentils turn brown (add sesame seeds towards the end). Cool and grind in a spice grinder to a coarse powder.
* In a shallow pan, roast peanuts and cashews till brown. Set aside.
* Soak a small bit of tamarind in warm water. Extract juice and discard the fiber. Tamarind extract can be used instead, 1 tsp.
* In the same pan, add 1 tbsp. oil, mustard seeds, bay leaf, star anise, curry leaf. When mustard seeds crackle, add chopped eggplant, turmeric powder, salt, tamarind extract and cover with lid. Cook till eggplant is tender. Do not overcook or it will turn mushy.
* Remove lid and cook a little more to let remaining water evaporate. Add spice mix, combine.
* Cook brown rice with 3 cups of fresh water, pinch of salt in a pressure cooker/electric rice cooker. Spread in a wide vessel and cool. Add required amount of salt and 1 tbsp. oil.
* Add rice (in portions) to the eggplant mixture, add nuts, combine lightly with a ladle. Let it sit to allow flavors to blend. Garnish with cilantro.