Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back To Basics

It took me a couple of days to catch up with work and house chores after the weekend trip to Seattle. Although Gods blessed us with an unusually sunny day in Seattle, we spent most of our time indoors eating at fabulous restaurants! The friends we were visiting are big foodies and took us to quite unique places. The most notable being Poppy, which serves fusion dishes in Indian Thali style! We had lightly spiced batata vada and eggplant fries for starters and I chose the vegetarian thali with beetroot-yogurt soup, seasoned fiddleheads, oyster mushroom risotto and other dishes creatively infused with Indian spices. The most amazing creation of Poppy was their Rum Curry drink - a delicious mojito style cocktail made with rum, coconut water and curry leaves! Who would've thought of that!! Well, someone clearly did..and that, my friends, was a winner.

The weekend food was a treat. But I was ready for some good ol' Marathi food after coming home. I made two traditional dishes last night - Bharli Vangi & Kothimbir Wadi. There couldn't have been anything else to make me feel more at home than these two dishes. Bharli Vangi (stuffed eggplants) is a very typical Maharashtrian sabji, more so in my home town Kolhapur, where we get the famous 'Krishna kathachi vangi' (eggplants grown on the Krishna river banks). Kothimbir wadi is a snack made with cilantro - lots of it! It's usually fried, but I always make a healthier non-fried version of it. 

Bharli Vangi
Bharli Vangi

4-5 Purple Indian/Thai eggplants
1 Small bunch cilantro - chopped
2 Tablespoons grated coconut
1 Tablespoon ground peanuts
2 Teaspoon red chili powder - or less
1 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1 Teaspoon goda masala
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 Small onion - thinly sliced
1/2 Teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Pinch asafoetida
1 Teaspoon jaggery powder/brown sugar
Salt to taste
Water as needed 
  • Wash the eggplants, leave just a little bit of the stem along with the green leaves where the stem starts. Make two slits on the top of the eggplants so that they open up like a flower with four petals. The eggplants will hold lots of stuffing. Keep the eggplants in water so they don't turn brown until you work on the rest of the stuff.
  • Combine ground peanuts, coconut, chopped cilantro, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder and goda masala and mix well. Stuff this mixture into the eggplants and keep them aside for 15-20 minutes. You can adjust the spices in the cooking process if needed.
  • Heat oil in a wok/kadhai and add mustard seeds. I usually use very little oil for seasoning but this sabji tastes much better with a little extra oil so - a whole tablespoon!
  • Add onions, asafoetida and turmeric to the oil and saute for a minute or so. Place the stuffed eggplants in the wok and let them roast for a few minutes on all the sides.
  • Add some jaggery, salt to taste, adjust the spice if needed, about 3/4 cup water, cover and let the eggplants cook thoroughly until tender. 
  • Garnish with some more cilantro and fresh coconut and serve hot.

Un-fried kothimbir wadi :D

Kothimbir Wadi

1 1/2 Cups chopped cilantro
3/4 Cup Besan/chickpea flour. I often add a little bit of rice flour for lightness. 2-3 tablespoons would do.
2 Teaspoons red chili powder - you can also use green chili paste alternatively
2 Teaspoons cumin-coriander powder
1/2 Teaspoon goda masala
1 1/2 Teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds - toasted
Salt to taste
Water as needed
  • Combine all the ingredients except water. Add water little by little mixing well until you have a thick paste-like batter.
  • Grease a flat pan (the kind that goes into the pressure cooker, like a small round baking pan) and pour the batter into it. Don't fill more than 1.5-2 inches.
  • Steam the batter in pressure cooker (add some water to the cooker, keep the pan inside, close the lid without the whistle) or over a regular steamer for 25-30 minutes or until you can poke a knife and it comes out clean. Keep an eye during the steaming process so the water doesn't evaporate completely burning the wadi.
  • Let this cool and take the 'cake' out with the help of a knife. Slice them into medium sized pieces (I cut them triangular shapes but a square is just fine).
  • Heat a pan and brush it with a little bit of oil. Roast the pieces on both the sides until light brown. This is my healthy alternative to the fried version.  
  • Garnish with some more toasted sesame seeds, or add a tadka of sesame seeds and green chilis (like the tadka on dhokala).
Bharali vangi taste all the better with some bhakari, raw onion and lasun chutney. I, however, just enjoyed it with home-made rotis.


Anonymous said...

How do you make goda masala?

amol sanap said...

मस्त झालेत, भरलेली वांगी ...


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