Vange Batata Rassa

(Link to Marathi Recipe)

Dark purple eggplants from my town, situated on the border of river Krishna is my favorite. I grew up eating that all my life. We also get green eggplants here, but not my favorite. Back then, getting fresh vegetables during late spring and summer used to be difficult. But we always got variety of eggplants. I heard things have changed a lot in recent years. Cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes are available year round. Obviously, we couldn't make stuffed eggplants all the time, so this rassa bhaji, vangi bhat, daal vange used to be very staple during that season. We all love eggplants except my father, but he could eat potatoes so my mom always added potatoes in all the eggplant bhajis.

The eggplants from the banks of river Krishna are not available for me here, but get tasty versions of Japanese eggplants. I grow these beauties in my backyard too. I do not get too much yield but whatever I get I use it to make bhajis that I loved eating while growing up. Today's recipe is one of that kind -

2-3 Japanese/Chinese Eggplants ( or 4 Indian Eggplants or 1 Big Italian Eggplant)
2 Small Potatoes (White or Yukon Gold size - optional) 
1 Onion
1.5 tbsp Kanda Lasun Masala (or per taste
Salt per taste 
1/2 tsp Cumin Seed Powder
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds Powder
1-2 Large Cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Unsweetened Coconut (fresh or frozen or dry)
1 tsp Jaggery (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind Pulp (optional)
2 tbsp Peanut Powder
Fistful Chopped Cilantro
For tempering - 2-3 tbsp Oil, 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds,1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, Pinch of Hing, Pinch of Turmeric, Few Curry Leaves

Preparation - 
Wash the eggplants carefully as they can have small thorns. Remove thorns carefully or just remove the green parts totally. Cut the eggplants in 1/2" pieces.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2" pieces.
Put the cut potatoes and eggplants in water bath.
Chop onion in medium dice.
Grind together coconut, garlic and little bit of cilantro.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. add mustard seeds and cumin seeds in hot oil. Once the mustard starts spluttering, add curry leaves, hing and turmeric.
Add chopped onion in a minute. Saute onion until golden brown. Then add coconut-garlic masala and immediately add drained potatoes. Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add drained eggplant pieces and saute for couple more minutes.
Add kanda-lasun-masala, salt, cumin-coriander powder and 1 cup of water. Cover and let it cook thoroughly.
Once potatoes and eggplants are cooked, add tamarind pulp, jaggery, peanut powder and little chopped cilantro. Add little water if needed. Boil for couple more minutes.
Turn off the heat, enjoy with Jowar bhakri or chapati.

Tips - 
I have added potatoes, but you can decide not to use and just make vangyacha rassa.
This is not a dry sabji. it should be curry like but not watery.


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