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Vaangi baath/Brinjal rice

Vaangi baath is a rice dish very popular in Karnataka, our neighboring state back in India. The best part of the dish is the masala itself and if you make it fresh from scratch, the dish tastes DELISH!!! There are a lot of versions available on how this dish is made depending on the region you are from. And here is my version...

Ingredients

2 cups raw Basmati rice - washed and cooked
1 lb eggplant/brinjal
Salt per taste
2 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp oil
3 green chillies slit lengthwise
15 to 20 cashews
couple of sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp lemon juice

For Masala

1/2 inch cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 small piece of stone flower(dagad phool)
1 small piece star anise
1/4 tsp peppercorns
4 dry red chillies(adjust per you spice level)
2 tbsp poppy seeds(gasagasalu)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp dry coconut powder

For Tempering

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Method

Dry roast the masala ingredients one by one and set aside. Let them cool and grind to a fine powder.
Take a big bowl full of water and add in couple tbsps of salt. Cut the eggplant into desired size and soak them in salt water. Set them aside.
Heat butter and oil in a pan. Add in tempering ingredients and let them splutter. Add in green chillies, cashews and fry them for a minute till cashews turn golden brown in color. Add in curry leaves and let them splutter. 
Add in eggplant pieces(just the pieces and discard the salt water). Add salt and give it a good stir. Close the lid and let the eggplant pieces cook till they become tender. Stir gently occasionally. Add in the prepared masala and give it a good stir. Fry for minute or two. 
Add in the boiled rice, lemon juice and toss gently so that everything gets mixed well. Check and adjust salt if needed. Serve hot.

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