vangi bhaji or vangyachi bhaji recipe – a simple and easy dry curry from maharashtra made with eggplants, spices and ground peanuts.
eggplant or brinjals are called as vangi or vangya in marathi. the curry is slightly sweet and tangy due to the addition of a bit of jaggery and tamarind. the soft succulent cooked aubergines coated with peanut powder and the spices makes for an excellent side dish. the recipe is also a no onion no garlic recipe.
goda masala is used in the recipe and i do recommend adding it instead of garam masala, to get that authentic maharashtrian taste and flavor.
the vangi bhaji recipe has been adapted from the book ‘ruchira’ by kamalabai ogale ( Amazon | Flipkart). this book is a classic book on selected maharashtrian vegetarian recipes. the english version is a thin book and not in many recipes there, but most of the everyday homely marathi recipes are covered.
the book has certain flaws as compared to the marathi version. the measurements are also vati (bowl) measurements and not cup measurements. however, an experienced home chef can easily correct these and adapt the recipes easily. if you are fond of maharashtrian food that is comforting and easy to prepare, than this book will be helpful.
yet another maharashtrian cookbook which i recommend is the ‘essential marathi cookbook’ by kaumudi marathe (Amazon | Flipkart) which has good number of maharashtrian recipes both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian. there is also annapurna which has other regional indian cuisines along with maharashtrian cuisine.
the vangi bhaji goes extremely well as a side dish with chapatis or jowar bhakris (sorghum flour flat breads). you can also serve the bhaji as a side dish with dal-rice combo.
vangyachi bhaji or vangi bhaji recipe below:
- 300 grams vangi (brinjals or baingan or eggplants or aubergines) - small or medium sized
- 1 teaspoon seedless tamarind soaked in 2 tablespoon warm water
- 2 teaspoon kala masala or goda masala
- 2 tablespoon peanuts
- 1 tablespoon grated coconut, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or grated jaggery or as required
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder) or adjust as per taste
- few chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (dhania patta)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
rinse and then quarter the vangi (baingan or eggplants) if they are small or else chop them into medium sized pieces.
- place them in salted water for 15-20 minutes.
- warm 2 tbsp water and add 1 tsp tamarind in it.
- soak the tamarind in the water for 20-25 minutes.
- squeeze the tamarind pulp from the soaked tamarind and keep aside.
- roast the peanuts on a pan till they become crisp and have a few black spots on them.
- once they cool down, grind the peanuts to a powder in a coffee grinder or in a mortar-pestle and keep aside.
heat oil in a pan. crackle the mustard seeds first.
- add the asafoetida and turmeric powder.
stir and add the drained vangi (aubergines) and tamarind pulp. stir and then cover the pan.
simmer on a low flame for 4-5 minutes. do check in between and stir.
- remove the lid and add red chili powder, goda masala/black masala, jaggery and salt.
- stir and then cover the pan and let the brinjals cook till soft.
- do check in between and give a stir.
- if the mixture looks dry, then sprinkle some water if required.
- once the brinjals are cooked, add the peanut powder and saute for 1-2 minute.
- check the taste and add more salt, red chili powder, goda masala or jaggery if required
lastly add grated coconut and coriander leaves. give a final stir.
- serve vangi bhaji hot with chapatis, phulkas or as a side dish with dal-rice