Vangi Bhat: More Eggplant Love

Vangi Bhat, or Eggplant Rice, is one of those Tamil rice dishes that is so exquisitely tantalizing, I sometimes dream about it!

Okay, I was only kidding about the dreaming, but I do crave it all too often.


Maharashtrians make a super-delicious and more complex version of vangi bhat (that recipe incorporates more spices and peanuts) but on a weeknight I find it quicker to put together the one that I learned out of a Tamil cookbook eons ago and which instantly became a favorite.

This is my second eggplant recipe in just over a week but, as all of you cooks know, it is eggplant season out there. My vegetable patch is festooned with tiny little eggplants that I cannot wait to devour. And this week, my local farmer’s market was overflowing with eggplants of many colors and sizes- white eggplants, green Thai eggplants, skinny lilac eggplants, and many more. Since I could eat this delicious veggie any day of the week and any time of the day, I came home with armfuls of it.

For this recipe, I used a small, skinny eggplant that was pale purple streaked with white. Both the woman who sold it to me and I had no idea what the variety is called, but the usual small, egg-shaped Indian eggplants or even the bigger varieties would do perfectly well in this dish. You might have to vary the cooking time for the eggplant to ensure it is cooked through. Remember, an undercooked eggplant is worse than no eggplant at all.

So here you go with a traditional recipe for a classic dish that everyone must try one time or the other in their eggplant cooking career. Enjoy!

Vangi Bhat (Eggplant Rice)

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked, long-grain white rice like Basmati. You could try this with brown Basmati- I am sure the robust flavors of the spices would hold their own against the earthy nuttiness of the brown rice.

6 small eggplants, or 1/2 of a large one, diced into small, even-sized pieces, around 1-cm square

1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)

1 tbsp + 1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil (not olive)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

Salt to taste

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp of of canola or other vegetable oil and toast until pale golden-brown and aromatic:

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp bengal gram dal (chana dal)

1 tbsp black gram dal (udad dal)

2 red chilies.

Grind with a little water into a fairly smooth paste.

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet.

Add the mustard seeds and, when they sputter, add the curry leaves

Over medium heat, add the eggplant pieces and a little salt and toss around to coat with oil. Let the eggplant cook, stirring a few times, until it is tender and cooked through. Depending on the variety of eggplant, this should take between 10-15 minutes.

Add the ground spices and turmeric, if using, and mix thoroughly with the eggplant. Allow them to cook together for a couple of minutes so the flavors merge.

Add the cooked rice and mix together delicately, taking care not to mash the rice grains which should be separate. Turn off heat.

Garnish with fresh mint or chopped coriander, or even with some fresh grated coconut if you have some on hand.

I served this hot with some freshly fried vatrals (rice-and-lentil crisps) that my sis-in-law, Paddu, gave me on her recent visit. Bliss.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

23 thoughts on “Vangi Bhat: More Eggplant Love

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Shreya

    July 25, 2008 at 6:39pm

    Vaishali, those vatrals must make your Vangi Bhat all the more delectable! I just love eggplant (who doesn’t!) and it’s so nice that you have a garden and can make fresh dishes everytime you want to:-) Looking forward to try out your eggplant recipes.. I did try the stuffed eggplant, though it looked exactly like the ones in your picture, I think made some mistake somewhere with the ingredients, especially sesame quantity, the taste wasn’t exactly as it should have been…better luck next time i hope…

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    destinyskitchen

    July 25, 2008 at 8:03pm

    Hi Vaishali! I’ve got to make this dish as soon as my sister’s garden starts producing oodles of eggplants!

    P.S. I nominated you for the Brillant Weblog Award. The details are on my blog…

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Cham

    July 26, 2008 at 5:54am

    Yes, tamilian staple Vangi bhaat :) Looks great with vatral!

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    VEGETABLE PLATTER

    July 26, 2008 at 9:16pm

    lovely vangi bhat .. my mom also makes it in the same way .. i love eating this along with curd rice .. comfort food

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Andhra Flavors

    July 28, 2008 at 7:12am

    i heard so many times abt this vangi bhat but i never tried.
    this time must try this.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya

    July 28, 2008 at 9:36pm

    vangi baat -YUM. I have always wanted the recipe but did not find one I enjoyed but this one. Thanks so much for sharing. I have some eggplants sitting in my refrigerator and I am making this. Also, I can see you clearly for the first time in your pic :-) Nice! Also, I noticed that you have removed the Great mahatma Gandhi’s versus about the respect of other living beings and made me a bit sad. I think you should add that back; after all he is greatest to our nation! Just a suggestion.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya

    July 28, 2008 at 10:44pm

    I read the recipe, got inspired, made it already & it came out darn good. I will post it sometime this week. I really enjoyed reading your “WHY AM I A VEGAN?” and appreciate it.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Laavanya

    July 28, 2008 at 11:43pm

    I didn’t grown up eating vangi bhath but when it makes a regular appearance at our place now and we simply love it… :) Your version looks delectable and so much better when paired with those vadaams.

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Nags

    July 29, 2008 at 9:38am

    love eggplant. i posted an eggplant recipe last on mine too :)

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sia

    July 29, 2008 at 10:57am

    girl, i am with u. can’t get enough of these purple beauties. so bring them all:)

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    A_and_N

    July 29, 2008 at 1:25pm

    Nice post Vaishali! But I am drooling more over the Vadaam that you have next to thhe Vaangi Bhat….because I dont get them here :(

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    TBC

    July 29, 2008 at 11:16pm

    This sounds like something that even I (an eggplant hater) would like.:D

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Poonam

    July 30, 2008 at 3:44pm

    Hi Vaishali, this dish looks perfectly spicy and delicious.

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priti

    July 31, 2008 at 3:02am

    Vangi Bhat looking so gud..never tried this..and the vatals are very tempting…very gud combo …

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dee

    August 1, 2008 at 8:31pm

    Vaishali , we love vangi bath and I come from a family who think life without the king of fruits is worthless. Absolutely great looking bhat.

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Toya

    February 23, 2014 at 6:38pm

    Hi vaishali,
    Thanks a lot for the Vangiibath recipe,it was just awesome.I can only say you ‘re a wonderful cook.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      February 24, 2014 at 12:09am

      Hi Toya, so thrilled you liked the vangibhath– a big favorite in our house too. You can also try making it with quinoa or bulgur for an even healthier twist. Hugs. :)

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