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3 June, 2014

Eggplant spiced brown rice (vaangi bhaath)

Comments : 37 Posted in : Main course on by : apsara Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


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)

  • Servings: 5
  • Time: soak time + 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


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

cloves- 2

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.


37 thoughts on : Eggplant spiced brown rice (vaangi bhaath)

  • June 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Ooh this looks so good… like the sort of dish I like to have in the fridge, ready for when I need a snack!
    Emma 🙂

    • June 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      thanks, Emma. 🙂

  • June 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I had always wanted to try Vangi bath,this is quite tempting for me. and looks awesome Apsara 🙂 And I as well use Laxmi brand brown basmathi for daily rice at home.

    • June 3, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      that makes two of us, Malar, we will blog about it together. Thanks. 🙂

      • June 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        Yes Apsara 🙂

  • June 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Looks delicious! Great idea using brown rice. I have never tried coconut in vaanghi baath either. Will try this!

    • June 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      thanks, Indu. Let me know when you try it.

    • June 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      there is still some left from lunch. Shall I fedEx it to you? 🙂

  • June 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Vangi Bhath is one of my favourite one dish meals. Your masala is slightly different from mine and I would love to try it your way soon.

    • June 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      sure, Aruna. 🙂

  • Liz
    June 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    The rice and eggplant dish looks so delicious. I wish I could make some like this one. I shall be trying this recipe soon. Thanks for sharing!

    • June 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      you’re welcome, Liz!

    • June 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

      yes, please do. The coconut adds a new dimension to it. 🙂

  • June 4, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Mmmmm…I think I’ll might try this with quinoa or freekeh ☺️

  • June 4, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Lovely, this sounds so good. It’s going on my ‘to try’ list!

    • June 4, 2014 at 8:09 am

      let me know when you try it. 🙂

  • June 4, 2014 at 8:07 am

    One of my favourites and your dish looks absolutely yummy!

    • June 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      thank you, Deepa

  • June 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Apsara, I hate vaangi, but love vaangi bhaat! So delicious and the spice mix packs a punch! Your version looks awesome 🙂

    • June 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      thanks, Naina. I hated brinjal too, as a child, but this is one of the few forms I love it in. 🙂

  • June 9, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Yum yum yummm! I love everything in this brown rice dish! I especially love the star anise in here! 😉 Yum!

  • June 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    What a flavoursome meal. Is making me hungry 🙂

    • June 13, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it.

  • June 18, 2014 at 4:23 am

    I made this tasty dish & served freshly grilled fish on the side! It was superb! xxx

    • June 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I’m very touched, Sophie! You have married south-Indian flavors with your fish; I’m glad it goes well. xx

    • June 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

      thank you, Kirsten. 🙂

  • July 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I can only imagine the flavors going on here. Love that you add coconut!

    • July 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      yes, I love the combination. thanks, Aditi.

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