Category Archives: South Indian

Quick Lunch Series: Eggplant Rice

Vangi Baath

A few months ago I visited my friend and her family in Boston and her mother was gracious enough to give me some Vangi Baath mix. While you can purchase it at  any Indian grocery, nothing beats fresh home-made Vangi Baath spice mix. And of course I wanted to make some for that weekday office lunch. This is perfect when you have left over rice….


1 cup Sona Masuri or Basmati or Jasmine rice
1-2 Japanese eggplant cut into 1 inch slices
1 medium onion sliced
1-2 tbsp Vangi Baath masala
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2tbsp cashews
some curry leaves
1 jalapeno sliced
some cilantro chopped to garnish
1-2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
few curry leaves


Cook 1 cup of rice as per instructions. Or better yet use that left over rice!

In a pan heat olive oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cashews, cumin and mustard seeds. Once they start to sputter, add  few curry leaves, 1 sliced jalapeno, 1 sliced onion and eggplant and fry till they are lightly brown, Add salt and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add cooked rice and vangi baath mix and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy as a workday meal or a side.


Pearl Tapioca Upma

Upma is an all time favorite breakfast item and I doubt if I will ever tire of it. Growing up,  almost every weekend we had upma or tomato bath (as we called it so my brother would eat it ). Most commonly it is made with cream of wheat but you can also use vermicelli, bulghur wheat or more recently I have made it with Amaranth grains, pearl couscous and quinoa. In India, upma is also sometimes made with tapioca or sago.

Recently while visiting some friends in Boston, I had tapoica upma. It has been so long since I had it and it felt refreshing and delicious. And of course, this past weekend, I decided to make some at home for breakfast. Here’s how I made mine. Try it!



1 cup tapoica
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium potato chopped
1 jalapeno chopped
a few curry leaves
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp peanuts
1-2 tbsp oil
a few curry leaves

Soak the pearl tapioca in water for 2-3 hrs.


Lightly roast the peanuts and grind them in a blender. Set aside.

Add oil to a pan and add channa dal, urad dal and mustard seeds and fry till the seeds start to sputter. Add chopped onion, curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for a minute. Add chopped potato and continue to fry them till they turn slightly golden.

Meanwhile, rinse and drain the water from the tapioca. Squeeze out the additional moisture loosely and add the tapioca to the pan. Mix well. Add salt and ground peanut powder. Mix well. Keep on for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Can drizzle some lemon juice if desired.


See Also:
Quino Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Amaranth Upma
Upma & Pessarattu

Healthy Instant Whole Wheat Dosa

Continuing my healthy dosa series this is another variation that is faster than the Brown Rice Buttermilk Pancake Dosa I posted a while ago. Typically these are made with white flour (or maida).


1 cup brown rice flour (usually white rice flour is used)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (usually white all purpose flour or maida is used)
3/4 cup yogurt
salt to taste
some water
some chopped onion (optional)
some chopped (cilantro)
some chopped jalapeno (optional)


Mix the  brown rice flour, whole wheat flour, salt, yogurt and water. The consistency should be sufficient to make a dosa or crepe. Set aside for 30 minutes.

When ready to make the dosa, heat a flat pan. Grease lightly with oil or cooking spray.

Spread out 2-3 tbsp of dosa batter into a thin crepe. Sprinkle some onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Add 1-2 tsp oil and cook till lightly golden. Flip and cook with some oil as needed.


Serve hot stand-alone or with some pickle (coconut, tomato or ginger)


Lunch Box Nostalgia

Rice is a staple diet in Southern India. Most days it is eaten 3-4 times a day. It is fairly common that there are left overs the next day. It is even more common that the left over rice is given a quick make-over into lemon rice, yogurt rice  or one of the many different combinations available where rice is mixed with other ingredients and made into a delicious dish often called “tiffin” or a light meal.


Growing up, I remember many a time my mother packing school lunches (usually with fresh cooked rice or left overs). One of the most common ones she made besides lemon (or tamarind) rice was coconut rice.

1 cup sona masuri or basmati rice
1-2 shallots
1 medium potato
1 jalapeno
1/4 cup shredded fresh or dry coconut

1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dry red chilis
1/4 cup cashews or peanuts
1-2 tbsp oil
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
salt to taste
a few curry leaves


In Southern India sona masuri rice is typically used but you can use basmati rice. Cook the rice in  2 cups of water in a rice cooker and set aside.


Heat oil in a pan and add all seasoning ingredients except salt and curry leaves. Fry until lightly brown. Add curry leaves, sliced jalapeno and fry for one minute. Add sliced onion and potato (peeled and cut into small pieces). Fry until the onion and potato turn slightly brown and are crispy. Mix in the rice, and coconut. Add salt to taste.


This is one of those convenient lunch box meals for a day at the office.