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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21 Comments »

  1. Roopa said

    wow its so inviting val with baingan both wonderfull combo to get along. i do mix bottle gourd with baingan shd try snake gourd with the goda masala. i really have get my hold on Goda masala with so many delicious recipes….thks Linda.

    Hi Richa, I’m feeling the same way about goda masala — now that I have had a taste of the semi-real thing I want the real thing even more ;) I think this would be good with bottle gourd too — it called for drumsticks but had none of those… :)

  2. Suganya said

    Then this is a hat trick post :) You go to great lengths in the name of authenticity.. Great job Linda! I don’t get snake gourd in my city though :(.. Was not a big fan of it when I was India…But you always long for what you do not get, don’t you?

    Hat trick — that’s just the phrase I was looking for Suganya! Thanks for your kind words — it’s true about longing for that which we can’t have. If you have a well stocked Indian grocery they might have snake gourd in the freezer. Not the same as fresh but… :)

  3. sia said

    ha ha ha Linda… ur post is funny yet amazing! everytime u surprise us with the recipes u come with. i am amazed with the fact how much pain u took to find the real goda masala. if i find a pack of it i will surely send u some :) at least i will get a chance to show my appreciation :D
    now this is 3 in 1 post! i remember doing samething some months ago. but mine comes no where near to what u have here. amazing dish with ur little magical touch here n there :)

    Thank you, Supriya, you are a sweet soul! I go a little crazy looking for the ‘real thing’ — in the kitchen and elsewhere! I remember one of your posts with three dishes — it was the yummy mangoes in brine! Hope you have a lovely vacation dear :)

  4. Coffee said

    Hahahaha….. Linda I can hug you for this!!! :) Its truely amazing to see the heights you go !!!

    Blueberry with database for foodstuff!!!! hahahahaha That was too good ;) Lovely recipe and a fantastic hatrick there. :)

    Don’t know about heights Coffee, but I did walk up and down a few long aisles this time… glad you enjoyed! Send you a hug back for laughing at my ‘berry’ joke ;)

  5. Coffee said

    BTW whats Azjfirci??

    That’s lazy shorthand for “A-Z”, “JFI” and “RCI”. If this had been ‘lite’ I could have added “MBP”! ;)

  6. Nupur said

    This is such a classic combination, Linda! It is quite apparent from your posts how much time and effort you put into every dish that you make and blog about! This one is making me swoon :)

    Nupur, your kind encouragement always means so much to me. Thank you! I’m happy you liked it — looking forward to all the Marathi and “V” goodies soon! :)

  7. trupti said

    Your enthusiasm amazes me each time, Linda….and this is such a new combination for me…..I like that you served this with papad and yogurt, my fav!

    I need a favor….could you please send me your address by email again?? I have your goodies ready to go!
    :P

    Thanks Trupti — I love papad and yogurt too — almost more than bread (and papads are better FOR me than bread! ;) ) Now what are you up to silly girl… I’ll send you an email but don’t you go to any trouble! :)

  8. indosungod said

    Dish looks lovely Linda. Here! (glass raised) is it to your inspired cooking and enthusiasm. You found Goda Masala like masal, let me forage here and see what I can come up with!!

    Cheers! to you ISG — you’re always a big inspiration and you are so generous with your comments — thank you! :) Foraging is good exercise, I found ;)

  9. bee said

    linda, my jaws are hurting from repeatedly crashing to the floor when i visit your blog. what a sleuth you are!!

    badshah rajwadi garam masala has dagad phool? never knew that. your desi grocer ought to hire you as a consultant.

    Excellent — may I use you as a reference Bee ;)

    Seriously, I’d love to open an Indian grocery. There are plenty around, but I think it would be fun and a challenge to create one with a different slant. If you have an extra million or two to invest, I’ll cut you two in as partners ;)

  10. Asha said

    I know how hard it is to get all the exotic spices to make Goda masala.I make it a simple one which works well for me.Dish looks fabulous.Sprouted val and Parval!!WOW!!!
    Thrre birds in one stone,not bad!!;D
    I am off too tomorrow.See you on Wednesday.I will try to post a photo for you to guess where I am!:D
    Have a great weekend.

    Have a most wonderful trip, Asha! Hope you get a chance to make us guess where you’ve gone off to :) Will try your goda masala too, you know that ;)

  11. Richa said

    sounds like a beautiful combination! are those eggplants from ur garden? i’ve seen that dishes using goda masala taste awesome if i add little jaggery, see if it works for you & u do not mind a sweetish hint :) enjoy the wknd!

    Richa, I would love it with jaggery I am sure, thanks for the suggestion! I wish the brinjals were mine — my plants seem to be shriveling :( Have a great weekend yourself :)

  12. Anita said

    Great piece of research, Linda! So dagad phool is found in the US too! That is a great looking dish with a very interesting combination of vegetables. Fabulous!

    Hi Anita, found in Badshah masala anyway! I am still looking for the raw ingredient, but have a feeling I know where I can get it. If I am successful I will not only let you know — I will share :)

  13. Revathi said

    What do I say Linda ?? Everytime your intensity to create the aunthentic dish awes me !! Excellent excellent excellent !!

    Revathi, you give me a big smile with your kind words, thanks so much :) I just love cooking authentic dishes and luckily with folks like you I have lots to try! :)

  14. ruchii said

    Hi Linda,
    Curry looks delicious…with very nice combination of snake gourd and eggplant…Thanks for the recipe.

    Thanks for visiting — it’s Madhu, yes? :) I’m so glad you enjoyed :)

  15. indosungod said

    Linda, I just your reply on the previous post. You were right the goody being fried was Urad Dal Vada (my favorite). I was planning on doing a double Dahi (Yogurt) Vadas but did not have enough Vadas leftover to make them. Next time. And my mother suggested we use the rest of the oil to fry some Vadagams which we enjoyed with the dal rice the next day.

    Your mom’s a smart cookie ISG — don’t waste that good deep-frying mood ;) I would love the recipe for your dahi vadas and vadagams please please… :) I’ll have to check way back in your blog to see if they’re there already! Glad you had fun on the patio!

  16. Dilip said

    another gem i see….val and brinjal is such a wonderful combo…i love it…great recipe..,thanks for sharing

    anytime Dilip dear — thank you and please bring the pear pie! :)

  17. Nabeela said

    *clap clap clap* three events with one dish…that’s got to be a record. I admire the patience and work you put in before participating for an event.
    There’s another thing I wanted to touch up on….remember last summer how I was really curious about your deep interest in Indian cuisine? And you said you’ll talk about it in a separate post(or words to that effect)….well, if you’re free and willing, I’d really like to read about it :)
    pretty please? :)

    Hi Nabeela,

    I wish I could spell out what it is about Indian food — it’s more than food really — it’s an attitude, a state of mind — that moves me so. If you haven’t already, maybe if you looked here at an older post of mine, it might help. I don’t take back what I said about writing it up; I hope someday I’ll be able to. Rather as you hesitated to do a post about NASA on a food blog, I hesitate to try explaining myself about something that just seems to come naturally :)

    Thanks a lot for visiting, and for your kind words. I always felt you were a kindred spirit! :)

  18. elaichietcetera said

    Oh dear….dagad phool/pathar phool grows here eh? :-D Like, I’ve begged friends who live at a great distance from me to send me some and its been here all along? How closely, dear Linda, is it related to “oakmoss”…because even in Shawano county at a river-park I found a huge mass of fragrant lichen all over some rocks… of course, not thinking of cooking at the time I just took a few pieces to tuck in my pocket for later sniffing…and its been a few years since I’ve had any interest in potpourri-making and the chypre-fragrance.

    Hi Pel, I am pretty good with a search engine so I found the lichen link to WI… but biology isn’t my strong suit… couldn’t tell you if it’s related to oakmoss but I might look it up! ;)

  19. elaichietcetera said

    Oh, and yes…apparantly the Marathis include it in their garam masala as well, but goda masala is a bit different- much darker, though I think your dish would taste delicious just the same!

    Yes, this is what I bought — a different version of garam masala. It has a decidedly different aroma and flavor than any spices — blended or on their own — I’ve had in the past and I’m pretty sure it’s the stoneflower making that difference. It was so delicious I’m now on a real mission to make my own :)

  20. Geeta said

    Hi:

    Anyone who would like to help a newbie with advice on how to set up a great cooking blog like all you kitchen wizards have, please e-mail an oldbie at
    whitefieldbb@gmail.com
    Thanks
    Geeta

  21. [...] a vague memory of reading this val-eggplant combo on one of the blogs. When I searched, I landed at Linda’s post. I did very few modifications to this recipe. It came out really [...]

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