Eggplant or Brinjal Pilaf: Vaangi Bhat

Eggplant or Brinjal Pilaf: Vaangi Bhat

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Peanuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Formal Party
Region Indian
By author tara deshpande
This classic vegan Konkan dish is a complete meal. Serve it with yogurt and roasted papads this Sunday. A delicious spice mix of lentils, seeds, nuts and spices, typical of the Konkan add flavor to this robust, comfort food.


  • 2 tablespoons husked, split Bengal gram or chana dal (For the Vaangi bhaat spice mix)
  • 2 tablespoons husked, split black gram or urad dal
  • 2 tablespoons husked, split moong beans or moong dal
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1.5 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 " cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • 6 dried red Byadgi or Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed
  • 8 cloves or Marathi Moggu if you can find it
  • 2 teaspoons grated jaggery or sugar
  • 2 cups medium-grain white rice, washed and drained
  • 8 Indian baby or 3 long Japanese orHyderbadi aubergines
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 Indian green chillies, approx 1.25-1.5” long
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onions (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted or fried peanuts, coarsely crushed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh; or frozen, defrosted, unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 5 cups boiling water


Please check with your doctor if you have health restrictions before you enjoy this recipe.


Vaangi bhaat spice mix
Roast the dals, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cinnamon in a dry skillet on high heat for 3-4 minutes. stir constantly to prevent burning.
Remove from pan, cool and grind to a fine smooth powder.
Heat the ghee or oil in the same skillet. Sauté the red chillies and cloves on medium heat for about 1 minute.
Add to the ground lentils and spices and grind again with the jaggery or sugar to make a smooth, slightly moist powder. Reserve.
For the Rice
Wash the rice and set aside to drain until dry.
Wash the aubergines and remove the stalks.
If using baby aubergines quarter them lengthwise. Cut the long ones into 1” thick rings.
Put the ghee or oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan that has a tight-fitting lid on medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Add the eggplants or aubergines and stir well.
Stir the rice into the pan. Mix gently so as not to break the grains.
Add the tamarind, vaangi bhaat spice mix, turmeric powder and 3 tspns salt and stir. Add 5 cups of boiling water. Mix gently.
Cover the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes on low heat.
Switch off the heat fand let the rice cook in its own steam for 5-7 minutes.
Fluff up the rice with a fork and taste. Add more lime juice, salt and sugar if required.
Stir in the peanuts and coconut. Serve warm.

Photo Credit Deepa Netto

Author Tara Deshpande