Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Katrikai Rasavangi ~ Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry

Its been a while since I posted in this space.  Ever since I opened my online jewelry store I have been super busy with setting it up and even though I have made some really interesting recipes recently that I want to and hope to post in this space soon, I haven't been able to more than peek at this space these last few weeks. I guess I have yet to learn to balance both my passions. But I am hoping to hit my stride soon and work out a way to post here frequently too.

Moving on to the post, katrikai rasavangi is a dish from Tamilnadu made with eggplants, lentils and a spice mixture made with roasted lentils and coconut. The best way I can describe this to those of you who have never tasted or tried this before is that it is somewhat similar to sambar. It is served over a bed of plain steamed rice with a stir fry kind of curry on the side. This rasavangi was something I used to make fairly frequently in the past, but in the recent couple of years I have hardly made it, not sure why, since I love it so much. Anyway recently when I made it again, I was reminded of how awesome this rasavangi tastes and since then it has become a regular in my kitchen again :)

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Ingredients and Method to make Katrikai Rasavangi
1/2 cup split pigeon peas (tur dhal / Tuvaram parappu)
Small gooseberry sized tamarind (Imli/ Puli)
6 to 7 small Indian eggplants cut into 1/2 inch pieces (baingan/ katrikai)
Salt to taste (namak/ uppu)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi/ manjal podi)

Roast in 1 tsp oil (tel/ ennai)
1 tsp Split black gram lentil (Udad dhal/ ulatham parappu)
2 and 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania/ kothamalli virai)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing/ perungayam)
4 dry red chilies (sukhi lal mirch / molagai vathal) (or to taste)

1 tsp coconut oil (or any other oil)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/ kadagu)
10 to 12 curry leaves broken into small pieces (kadipatha/ karvapillai)

Grind with 1/2 cup fresh/ frozen grated coconut (nariyal/ thengai) (if using frozen, thaw to room temperature)

Place pigeon peas/ tur dhal in a medium sized bowl, fill with water, swirl with hand and strain water. Fill with fresh water enough to submerge the lentils and soak for at least 30 minutes. Pressure cook the lentils until soft, this usually takes 3 to 4 whistles in my pressure cooker. Alternatively you can cook the lentils on the stove top or in the microwave until soft and mushy. When the pressure subsides, open pressure cooker, mash the lentils gently and keep aside.

In a small bowl, soak tamarind/ imli in sufficient water for at least 15 to 30 minutes.Press the tamarind/ imli with fingers and extract juice. Strain and collect tamarind juice in another bowl and fill the first bowl with tamarind with some more water and extract juice again. Strain and discard the tamarind pulp and seeds.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan on medium to medium low heat, add split black gram/ udad dhal to it and stir until the lentils begin to redden, then add coriander seeds/ dhania, pinch of asafoetida/ hing and dry red chilies and stir a few times. Remove from heat and grind this entire mixture along with grated coconut and very little water until it turns into a smooth paste. If you are using frozen and thawed to room temperature coconut, use a little warm water when grinding this paste. Keep the paste aside.

In a medium sized heavy bottom pan, add tamarind juice, salt to taste, turmeric powder and place on medium heat. Add cut pieces of eggplant/ baingan to it and allow this mixture to simmer until the eggplant becomes soft and tamarind loses its raw smell.

Once the eggplant is soft add cooked dhal and the ground paste to it and mix well. Add water if required to achieve a sambar like consistency, simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to mingle. In a small pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds to it when the seeds begin to splutter, add curry leaves/ kadipatha, stay a little away from the pan as curry leaves sometimes causes oil to splutter a little, pour the entire seasoning on the rasavangi. Remove from heat.

Serve rasavangi hot on a bed of plain steamed rice and a curry on the side or chips/ papad/ appalam on the side. Rasavangi also tastes good with chapathis/ phulkas/ Indian flat bread.

 If you are looking for recipes with eggplant/  baingan, here are a few more

Baingan Bharta ~ Vegan Roasted Eggplant Curry 

Baingan ki sabzi ~ Eggplant in coconut milk gravy

Methi Baingan  ~ Eggplant with fenugreek curry

Baingan Simla mirch sabzi ~ Eggplant bell pepper curry

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