Rasavangi is nothing but kootu made with eggplant. Kootu is a lentil and vegetable based stew. I would call this a thicker version of sambar with coconut. While sambar is eaten with rice as the first course in traditional south Indian meals, kootu is mostly eaten as a side. But I like mine mixed with rice or even with roti/chapathi. Small eggplants available in Indian and Asian grocery stores taste best for this traditional recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s “Cook and See” part 1. You can substitute ash gourd/winter melon for eggplant in this recipe.
0.75lb small eggplants cut lengthwise
3/4 cup toor dal/split pigeon peas
1.5 teaspoons Bengal gram/channa dal
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 dry red chilies ( original recipe calls for 8 dry red chilies)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1.5 teaspoons black gram/urad dal
1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder
5 curry leaves
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1. Wash and clean the toor dal/pigeon peas. Add 1.5 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles, set aside.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a saucepan and when oil is hot, add Bengal gram/channa dal, coriander seeds, 3 dry red chilies and grated coconut. Cook till they turn light brown. Grind to a fine paste by adding little water when completely cooled.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in the same saucepan and add cut eggplant pieces. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Mix tamarind paste in 1/4 cup of water and add to the above. Cover the pan and let the eggplant cook in tamarind water for 10minutes on medium flame.
5. Add salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
6. Add cooked toor dal/pigeon peas, 1/2 cup water and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil.
7. Add the ground paste and cook for 5minutes. Turn off the heat.
8. Add 1 teaspoon of oil in a separate pan and when its hot, add mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add black gram/urad dal and 1 dry red chili and fry for 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and asafetida powder and let it cook for few seconds.
9. Add the above tempering/tadka to the cooked eggplant/lentil stew and mix well.