Vangi Bhat

(2 votes)

2 cups long-grain rice
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium eggplant
7 tablespoon vegetable oil (plus 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2 teaspoons yellow split peas
1/2 whole hot dried red pepper OR 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 stick cinnamon (3/4 inch)
3 tablespoons dried, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Put the rice, 3 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to very, very low, and cook gently for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice sit, covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Peel eggplant and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well and set aside for half an hour.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small cast-iron skillet over a medium flame. When hot, put in the coriander seeds, split peas, red pepper, and cinnamon. Keep stirring. When spices darken by a few shades, remove them with a slotted spoon and placed on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Put the dried coconut in the same skillet. Fry, stirring all the time (there will be hardly any oil in the skillet, but that is all right), until the coconut turns a fairly uniform golden-brown color. Remove coconut and place on the paper towel next to the spices.

Heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a 9 to 10-inch skillet over a medium flame. When hot, add the eggplant. Stir and fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until eggplant is cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Put spices and coconut into an electric coffee grinder and grind as finely as possible. (You can do this with a mortar and pestle, but it does not work very well in a blender.) Leave in the grinder.

Combine the lemon juice, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, the turmeric, and 2 tablespoons. water in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to very low and simmer gently for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Put the cooked rice in the skillet with the eggplant and stir well to mix. Allow to cool slightly. Dribble 2 tablespoons oil on the rice and mix well again. Add the coconut-spice mixture, and the lemon-turmeric mixture. Mix again and serve at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6

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