My website was down for 4-5 days. Thanks to excellent support by my webhosts, my site which was offline for 1 day went offline for 5 days.

I have written a sweet letter to the customer support manager. And yes very soon I might be moving to vesana for webhosting. Atleast they reply fast.

Vaangi bhath (eggplant/aubergine rice)

My first taste of vaangi bhath was after marriage, when my sahadharmini made it. It looked a bit dodgy and avoidable, but my palate proved it otherwise. Nothing like vaangi bhath with dahi and roast pappadoms. I never made vaangi bhath, but decided to document it for the future generations, who might enjoy it.

I felt that the process for making vaangi bhath was a bit tedious, which my wife pooh-poohed. She maintains a separate food blog and is the “chief cooker” at home and might be right. But I let you decide the same, not from the pictures or the recipe, but judge only after making the same.

So, as always we start with ingredients. As this dish is called vaangi bhath, you can easily guess that vaangi and rice are integral to this. so here we go in detail. These ingredients are for “well-eating” 2 individuals. There are around three-four steps involved in making a perfect vaangi bhath and I will group the ingredients also like wise.

For Rice

1. Rice (My measurement for 2 people is to take 3 fist-full of raw rice, others follow the image)
2. A bit of turmeric powder (only a bit)

For Masala

Take a bit of mustard seeds(rai), coriander seeds(dhaniya), cumin seeds(jeera), urad dal, chana dal(split peas), turmeric powder (haldi), red chillies and kadi patta.

For Seasoning

Again a bit of mustard seeds(rai), cumin seeds(jeera), chana dal(split peas), red chillies, kayam (asafoetida powder), kadi patta and a bit of oil.

Other main ingredients

Tamarind concentrate, vaangi (aubergine/eggplant) and obviously salt to taste.

Now if you dont have a few items in the masala, ignore them and make the dish, it would not taste bad just because you skipped a couple of masala’s. So lets dive straight into the preparation with the ingredients that we have gathered.

ingredients for vaangi bhath

Take the rice and wash it. Add water and turmeric powder and cook it. I know, I know, thats not very helpful, but there is nothing more in cooking rice. The water proportion goes like this, for 1 katori/cup of rice, 2 katories/cups of water. Once you have done that, you cook either in a hob or you can microwave it. When cooking in a hob, ensure that once the water starts boiling, you close the vessel, reduce the flames to low and allow the rice to cook. it will easily take around 15-20 minutes to cook.

prepare rice

While the rice is getting cooked, lets prepare our masala. For this, take all the masala ingredients listed and saute them. You dont need to add oil to saute them. Just do it directly on the pan without any oil.

add masala ingredients

Now you need to mix them well and saute them till they appear a bit roasted.

saute masala well

Now, you can remove them.

masala ready to be ground

Grind this mix into the vaangi bhath masala.

vaangi bhath masala

Ok, now chop the aubergine/eggplant/vaangi to cubes, if you have not done it already.

cut aubergine to cubes

Nows the time to prepare tamarind water. Add a spoon of tamarind concentrate to a katori.

tamarind paste

Add water to the concentrate and dilute it to get the tamarind water (wow, I am brilliant). Now if you dont use tamarind concentrate, prepare it the way its done back home. Take dried tamarind, soak it in water and later mash, sieve and use the tamarind water.

tamarind water

Now check the rice and wait for it to cook before proceeding. Now we are entering the final process in making vaangi bhath and it will be good to have the cooked rice ready, unless you have got some expertise in cooking already.

Now take the kadai (or the vessel you want to make vaangi bhath in) and put 2 teaspoon of oil. Add the seasoning ingredients and saute well.

saute seasoning

Now while sauteeing, add a bit of kayam (asafoetida) powder.

add kayam

Once the seasoning is well sauteed, add the chopped aubergines/eggplant/vaangi to it.

add vaangi

Mix occasionaly while it cooks.

cook vaangi

The vaangi is cooked, when they appear transculent as in the picture below.

transculent vaangi's

Now add the masala we prepared earlier to it and cook for a couple of more minutes.

add masala

Mix it well.

mix masala well

Now add the tamarind water to the mixture and stir well.

add tamarind water

Allow it to cook till it appears to be a paste. Now add salt to taste.

mix tamarind water well

Now we add cooked rice to this.

add cooked rice

And mix the rice well.

mix it well

The vaangi bhath is ready. Serve it with raita or plain yoghurt, with a couple of roasted pappadoms.

vaangi bhath

Yum. Enjoy.

Stupid Olympics

So the olympics came to a close. I am happy that India won a silver medal, though I was sure we would have been in the top 10 medal winners, only if the olympics adjudicators were not so biased. They should have given consideration that anju had a pollution problem, malleswari had a back problem, our delhi sports center where all the olympic people were preparing didnt have proper water supply etc. There is a whole host of things which they just ignored, and guess what happened, we got only 1 silver medal. Not that we need any medal from the olympics, as we can make as many we want in Ulhasnagar.

I thought the whole olympics thing was something which was not needed. There were several events which never made sense to me anyway. Lets start with floor gymnastics. You have got a rectangular area, where a young lady/gent does some exercises, hop-on hop-off and stands and bows. Now I wonder what on earth was that, and even before I can figure it out, the judges come out with something like 9.7, 9.8, 9.6 and so on. Wow! you say. I wonder you havent seen dombivli train platform in bombay at around 8.00 am in the morning. The acrobatics that one does to get into a local train will beat all these cutie figures jumping up and down on the mat at olympics.

Another event that beats me is marathon. I had some sympathy for Paula Radcliffe when she couldnt complete the marathon, but I laughed my backside off, when she couldnt even complete 10,000 meter race. My wife told me it was not good to laugh at others, particularly at such situations. So I sincerely made a serious face, which lasted for around 1 second. Coming back to the event of marathon, the whole thing seemed pointless. The history of marathon was even more funny. Its said that a soldier ran all the way from a battlefield back to athens, just to tell the message that they had won. The sad and stupid part is he collapsed and died just after delivering the message. Now, look it from an Indian perspective. Would we do that, no way. We have more intelligent ways of communicating the same message – women power.

What a shrewd Indian would have done is to go to the nearest village and tell the lady a secret, that the Greek had won, and ask her to keep it as secret. Trust the gossip-power, the message would have reached athens faster than an email goes over the internet, or even the time photon takes to circumnavigate the earth. This stupid guy who lost his life by running a marathon and didnt even had a clue about this technique. And since then have something called marathon to commemorate that running. Hey, why run marathon, when you can phone in this day and age to inform whats happening. Totally pointless I say.

I could go on and on like this for several events. It would require lot of time for me to write my angst that “iddli-theeta” (iddli eating competition), and such similar traditional competitions are not at all even shortlisted to become olympics event. In short, I didnt like the olympics that happened, and finally just to clarify, this entry is not a result of my bitterness that India did only manage 1 medal at olympics or that our neighbor China stood second place in the medals tally. Darn.