This is a traditional and almost a forgotten recipe. Probably elders at home who are past 70's should remember that their Moms used to prepare this recipe. It used to be famous in the agrarian families. Farmers for their seed requirement used to allow a few Egg-plants to mature till they have seeds and are ripened on the plants itself. The ripened Egg-plants are known as Vanga Pandu. These fruits have a peculiar smell and their colour is also very nice. In modern days its almost impossible to get the ripened Egg-plant unless one stays nearer to the rural markets and they are sold.
Though Indian farmer caters all the food and vegetables for the cities, they hardly have the benefit of having a variety of vegetables for themselves at home. The logic is simple. Agriculture being a profession, farmers would like to maximize their return, for which all the farmers in the village would plant a mono or at best two different varieties of plants over large areas. This helps in transportation and price negotiation with the traders from cities. Thus the farmers in a village would have only one or two vegetables in plenty - i.e the ones they grow in their fields. They don't have the luxury of choosing a vegetable of their choice from the counter shelf, as is the case in urban ares. Thus the farmer's wife is bound to experiment different varieties with the same vegetable and bring out various tastes. Thus came many traditional recipes using the same vegetable.
To protect this recipe for posterity I document it. Mostly this recipe would we for academic interest, because many would not be able to get the Ripe Egg Plant (Brinjals), i.e Vangapandu.
Preparing Vanga Pellu:
Take ripe brinjals and wash them. Dry the washed ripe brinjals. Take out the stem of the ripe brinjal and cut it into pieces. Spread the brinjal pieces in a plate and dry them in sun. Dry the brinjal pieces till they are crisp and breaks easily when pressed between fingers. The sun dried ripe brinjal pieces are known as Vanga Pellu. Store them in a dry bottle and prepare Vanga Pella Charu.
- Water – 500ml
- Vanga Pellu – 10gms (handful)
- Tamarind – 15gms
- Salt – To Taste
- Turmeric Powder – 1/8tsp
- Charu Podi (Rasam Powder) – 1tsp
- Black Pepper – 1/4tsp
- Oil – 3tsps
- Fenugreek Seeds – 4
- Mustard Seeds – 1/4tsp
- Cumin Seeds – 1/4tsp
- Asafoetida – A Pinch
- Red Chili – 1 (Break Chili Into Small Pieces)
- Curry Leaves – Few
- Chopped Coriander – For Garnishing
Take water into a bowl and heat it. To the water add salt, turmeric powder and vanga pellu. Cover the bowl partially and cook till the brinjal pieces are cooked. It takes five minutes to cook the brinjal pieces. Meanwhile prepare the tamarind paste.
Take tamarind into a microwave safe bowl and add 30ml water. Place this bowl in microwave oven and cook on high power for 30 seconds are till water starts boiling. Cool the cooked tamarind for a while. Take the cooked tamarind into a mixie jar and grind. Add required amount of additional water and make a paste of the tamarind. Take the tamarind paste into a bowl and keep it aside.
After 5 minutes open the lid and observe that the brinjal pieces are cooked. Then add prepared tamarind paste and mix well. using mortar and pestle crush the black pepper coarsely.
To the boiling charu add the crushed black pepper and charu podi. Mix well and allow the charu to boil. Once the charu reaches a boil switch off the flame and cover the bowl to retain the aroma. Prepare the seasoning.
Heat a pan and add oil to it. When oil is hot add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Fry the seasoning till the seeds crackle and then add asafoetida, red chili pieces and curry leaves. Fry the seasoning well and add this to the prepared charu. Immediately cover the bowl and leave it for 2 to 3 minutes to get the flavor of the seasoning to the charu. Transfer the prepared vanga pella charu into a serving bowl. Add some chopped coriander to the charu and mix well. Garnish the vanga pella charu with the remaining chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with plain rice and dal.
Points To Notice:
Vanga Pandu or Ripe Brinjal has a distinct and strong flavor.
Vanga Pandu will not taste sweet or sour—it has a special flavor. so add tamarind accordingly. For extra taste add some sugar also while boiling the charu.
Crush black pepper freshly just before adding to the charu to give a good flavor to the charu.
For seasoning use oil only—not ghee. The flavor of ripe brinjal just vanishes under the flavor of ghee.
After adding the seasoning to the charu, cover the vessel so that the flavor of the seasoning mixes well with the charu.
Serve the charu with hot rice and plain
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