Every time I write these blogs I remember my mother. Looking back, I realise how much we took her (and my grandmother and aunts) and their cooking for granted. These are the unsung heroes of our Indian homes. Looking after a house full of kids, including some of our cousins, they always made the most delicious and healthy meals, often with limited means. No easy feat. And on Sundays, almost always, the lunch was special, small onion sambar, roast potatoes, aviyal, rasavangi and other delicacies. Of course these meals would not be complete without some pachadi and a few other side dishes. While the rest of the household had rest on Sundays, my mother never did. In fact she had to work twice as hard on Sundays to get this feast on the table.
So here goes my mother’s rasavangi recipe.
Small eggplant – 15
Any kind of dried or fresh beans – 1/2 cup (broad beans, mochai, chick peas or even chana dal)
Tamarind – size of small lemon ball
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Chana dal – 1/2 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Pepper – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 8-10
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Dice the eggplant into 3/4” cubes and keep in water to prevent browning. Soak and cook the beans in a cooker if using dried beans. Make 1 cup of tamarind water.
In a kadai add a tbsp of oil. Add the urad and chana dals, coriander seeds, red chillies and pepper and fry till golden brown. Add the coconut and fry till coconut is brown. Remove from heat and grind to a fine paste with water when it has cooled down.
In the same kadai add the diced eggplant and curry leaves and fry for some time. Add the turmeric powder and salt and the cooked beans. If using fresh beans there is no need to precook in pressure cooker. Add the tamarind water and adjust level so the eggplant and beans cook well, the raw tamarind smell is gone and the eggplant and beans are well cooked. Add the spices paste, stirring till it comes together in the right consistency.
In the kadai, add a tbsp of oil and pop the mustard seeds, add the urad dal for tempering. When the dal is golden brown, add the tbsp of grated coconut and fry till coconut is crisp. Add the asafoetida and add this to the rasavangi when done.
Serve with hot rice. It also pairs very well with coconut or lemon rice. Serves 4.