Vankaya Pachadi is yet another delicious dish from the land of idlis and dosas, Andhra Pradesh, and it is very similar to baingan bharta. In its simple preparation, it’s a curry of grilled brinjal (roasted or directly cooked on gas burner) sautéed with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, chilli, curry leaves and spices.
|4-5 small Brinjals or 1 big Brinjal (aubergine/eggplant)|
|2 Dry Red Chilli (more or less, according to the taste)|
|1 teaspoon Chana Dal|
|1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal (split black lentils)|
|1/2 tablespoon Dry Coriander Seeds|
|1 teaspoon Tamarind Paste or Tamarind Pulp|
|1 teaspoon grated Jaggery|
|1 teaspoon Cooking Oil|
|1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds|
|1/4 teaspoon Urad Dal|
|4-5 Curry Leaves|
|1 teaspoon Cooking Oil|
- Take small brinjals (or a big round shaped purple or light green brinjal), wash them and prick the surface using fork. Brush some oil on the outer surface and cook directly on burner. When skin turns black, rotate them to cook remaining sides. Keep rotating it at regular intervals to cook evenly. When the entire surface is charred and has become black and flaky, turn off the flame.
- Let them cool for few minutes.
- Peel charred skin and remove the stem. Keep them aside until required.
- Heat 1-teaspoon oil in a pan over medium flame. Add chana dal and urad dal; sauté for a minute. Add coriander seeds and dry red chili; sauté until dal turns light brown. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool for a while.
- Transfer it to a small jar of a mixer grinder or blender.
- Grind to a smooth powder.
- Add roasted brinjal flesh, tamarind paste, jaggery and salt.
- Grind until smooth or medium coarse paste. You can keep the texture of pachadi according to your choice. Transfer pachadi to a serving bowl.
- Heat 1-teaspoon oil in the same pan for tempering. Add mustard seeds. When seeds begin to crackle, add urad dal and curry leaves and sauté until dal turns golden brown. Turn off the flame and pour prepared tempering over pachadi. Vankaya pachadi is ready for serving, garnish it with coriander leaves.
Tips and Variations:
- Choose brinjals which does not have any tiny holes around its surface. It should be firm on touch but not very hard. Its skin should be tender and glowing.
- It’s very difficult to peel skin of uncooked brinjal. Make sure to cook it evenly until skin turns charred.
- If tamarind paste is not available, then use same amount of lemon juice.
- Add 1 chopped onion and 1 medium chopped tomato while preparing tempering for variation, it gives very good texture to this Andhra pachadi.
Serving Ideas: Andhra’s popular vankaya pachadi and chapati or steamed rice is a delicious and healthy combination. You can also serve it with rava dosa, steamed Idli or onion uttapam.