This time of year, I move into Fall, with anticipation and joy at the colorful translation of the landscapes. It is also the time of the year, when I do not want to lose sight of some of the good summer recipes that I did not have time to share with you. So, here is my Eggplant rice with Purslane. It is an adaptation of the classic Vangi Bhaat or South Indian style Eggplant Pilaf. The outside is slowing down, but we still get a steady supply of greens and enough lone vegetables to keep us going.
This week seems to have been all about the book, even though I had promised myself when the time came I would not lose focus. I guess, the book is much like a new baby that steals the show from everything else in the house. I remember how unprepared I was for the older one, anxious, nervous and hard on myself. My son Aadi, though more of a handful, had been easier just because I was more prepared and also more willing to be easier on myself. Being a good learner most of the time, I have realized that the it is ok not to be perfect and also learnt to forgive myself for mistakes as a mom.
This has helped me make peace with the fact that I will not be great at promoting the book baby. This being said, it will be special to me.
Now, back to cooking, this time of the year I often have several residual summer dishes, that I have to decide whether to blog and share for posterity or just forget and let them meander into nothingness, this fresh and lively pilaf, a riff on the classic version called Vangi Bhat, was certainly worth bringing out and saving for next summer when both the eggplants and purslane will grow.
Purslane, grows on its own terms a colorful and nutritious weed. I was exceedingly surprised when I realized that it is quite popular in Southern India, and aparently was also liked and eaten by Gandhi. The taste of this plant varies with the time of the day, it is eaten and usually tends to be tarter in the mornings and more mellow and almost sweet in the evenings.
So, it was a happy and colorful marriage, when I paired it with eggplant and peanuts in this colorful rice dish. Given how much we all liked it, chances are this will be a long lasting late summer marriage. In that, we shall see the duo and welcome them again, next summer.
A brightly colored light and nutritious one dish meal.
- 1/3 cup raw shelled peanut
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive or mustard)
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 11/2 teaspoons ginger paste
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1 medium sized eggplant, diced
- 1 cup of basmati rice, washed throughly
- 2 cups of water
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup finely chopped purslane
- 1. In a skillet, dry roast the peanuts until they are a few shades darker and are fragrant, this will take about 5 minutes, and needs to be watched and shaken while cooking.
- 2. Set the peanuts aside.
- 3. In a cooking pot add the oil and heat on medium heat for about 45 seconds.
- 4. Add in the black mustard seeds and wait unitl the mustard seeds begin to pop.
- 5. Add in the red onion and the red chilies and stir well and saute for about 4 minutes until the onion melts and is transluscent.
- 6. Add in the eggplant and stir well. Cover and lower the heat and let the eggplant cook for about 4 minutes, it should be somewhat tender at this point.
- 6. Add in the rice and the water and mix well.
- 7. Add in the turmeric and the salt and when the water is simmering, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
- 8. Remove the cover, at this point the water should be almost absorbed and the rice fluffy and yellow.
- 9. Stir in the purslane and the peanuts and mix with the light hand.
- 10. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes and turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes before serving.