Archive for June 22, 2007

AZJFIRCI ~ Vangi ani Val

ingredients for vangi ani val
clockwise from top left: snake gourd, onion, fresh brinjal (vankaya, vanga), quasi-homemade goda masala, and sprouted val dal

I wish I had the time to participate in every blog event. When I do participate,
I want to truly contribute, rather than ‘phoning it in’. I like to have time to read about what I’m cooking — research it even — learn a little about the particular dish I am making. Perhaps the focus is one ingredient, or the history, or the cultural aspect of the food — etc etc. I’m not often adept at articulating all I learn.
Rest assured I do spend the time.

Tonight I did something I did not set out to do. I unexpectedly made a dish that qualifies for three events at once! This is highly unusal for me, and I won’t be home most of Saturday, so I guess I lucked out, but not before I spent the better part of the week reading up on goda masala!

The recipe is for Vangi ani Val — tender brinjals cooked with sprouted val dal and coconut. It calls for goda masala, something I’ve been reading alot about lately. Ever too particular about “getting it right”, I searched high and low for the authentic ingredients — I really wanted to make my own fresh.

Dagad phool, or stoneflower, botanical name permalia perlata, also known as parmotrema chinense (photo from Roy’s Redwood Preserve) was nowhere to be found when browsing at my favorite shop near work. I couldn’t even recall its name and when I asked for ‘goda masala’, the friendly owner marched down the back aisle, picked up a bag and with a triumphant flourish handed me garam masala.
I tried to explain that I knew it was similar, but what I was looking for (G-O-D-A masala) had one or two unusual ingredients that made it different (that of course I couldn’t think of at the moment, big help I am).

Note to self: I will never own a Blackberry, but when they come up with a handheld database for foodstuff, I’m there.

Hearing this, the proprietor handed me a box of Badshah Rajwadi Garam Masala. Rajwadi, hmm… vaguely I remembered an association with Mumbai.
I looked closely before I refused, and realised it was the closest I would come today. At least it listed ‘stoneflower’ among the ingredients. Everything I have read points to this — dagad phool — as one essential ingredient for aroma and taste. Lunch hour over, I bought the masala and went back to work. Once home, I supplemented it with a few missing ingredients, namely kala jeera, coconut and sesame, all toasted and ground and mixed with the store-bought stuff.
The finished dish had a completely new and rather addictive aroma;
I think my doctored-up goda masala made an acceptable substitute for the real thing until I can get my hands on the little lichen. Perhaps when I make a visit to Wisconsin, I can forage for some!

The Main Events

Nupur’s A-Z Of Indian Vegetables ~ V is for Vanga/Vankaya

For “V” week, I knew that I’d want to make eggplant — after all, V is for Vanga and Vankaya. It’s my Very favorite Vegetable by far, and the one I cook most often. A few months ago when I was shopping and thought to myself, ‘look at those lovely fresh brinjals’, I realised I am even starting to *think* in new languages. That is an exciting thought! I rarely think “eggplant” anymore. Assimilation by exposure is an amazing concept.

~~~~~

Lakshmi’s Regional Cuisines of India ~ Maharashtrian Cuisine

June’s regional cuisine is hosted most enthusiastically by Nupur, as well. This is a wondefully enlightening event started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine. I missed the amazing Tamil roundup Lakshmi hosted as the kickoff; then I missed the equally beautiful Andhra roundup hosted by lovely Latha of Masala Magic. Finally I made it to the party in time for Nupur’s turn.

~~~~~

Indira’s Jihva for Ingredients ~ July is Jihva for Eggplant at Ghar Ka Khana!

Yum and Hooray! Last and certainly not least, this dish goes to Jihva For Eggplant, graciously hosted by Sangeeta of Ghar Ka Khana. What a delicious way to begin the summer — a brinjal by any other name is just as sweet. Thank you for choosing this perfect summer vegetable, Sangeeta!

~~~

If you made it this far, you deserve a cookbook, but I do have a recipe. I hope it’s something new to some. You see, every day is a Blog Patrol Event for me…
I do wish I could give a little back :)

Vangi Ani Val
adapted from Indian Food Forever

1/2 c sprouted and skinned whole val dal (surti val)
2 long brinjals, cubed
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 c snake gourd, sliced (I used frozen)

1 TB canola oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp kashmiri chile powder
1/2 tsp goda masala

pinch of asafoetida

2 TB grated coconut (I used frozen)

salt to taste

~~~~

Boil the snake gourd until tender, drain well and reserve.

Heat the oil and add the asafoetida and mustard seeds. When mustard pops, add the onions and fry until golden.

Add the val dal, brinjal, turmeric, kashmiri chile, goda masala and salt to taste. Mix well and add about 1 c water. Cover and cook until the dal is soft but not mushy.

Raise heat to high a few minutes until water is cooked off.

Remove from heat and add coconut and snake gourd.

Stir gently and serve hot.

vangi ani val
vangi ani val with papad and yogurt

Many thanks to these great sources of info about goda masala:

The Cooks Cottage

A Mad Tea Party

Bhaatukli

and to Jugalbandi for the botanical name of dagad phool!

And many thanks to Nupur and Sangeeta for their hard work in hostessing :)

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