Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Creative Comeuppance

Vaangi Pohe (Beaten Rice with Eggplant)

You may have gathered from my last few posts that we are under a baingan invasion, almost in a Hitchcockian fashion. 

That brings to mind the phobia of a cousin, a brave sailor in the naval services, for what I thought was the most innocuous of all enemies - eggplants.

Now, that’s nothing out of the ordinary, a lot of people are mortally scared of the aubergines monsters. But the impetus of this cousin’s trepidation was quite unusual.

On board a vessel on a secret strategic mission, they had for some inexplicable reason loaded tonnes of vankayas in Vishakhapatnam in preparation for a sailing around the cape without really stopping at any ports till their operation was completed. Even refueling was done at sea to maintain secrecy.

(Vankayas BTW are eggplant in Telugu- I didn’t want to obliterate my alliteration!)

So it was a baingan bonanza aboard - starting with eggplant sambar, pickle and chutney with idli for breakfast, more eggplant for lunch and some more eggplant for dinner.

And apparently they were the worst type of eggplants – green, thick skinned, seedy, itchy/scratchy, bitter, with plenty of holes bored by frooti-cooties… 

The sailors were green around their gills with eggplant and thanking their stars they weren’t served eggplant halwa for dessert.

Desperate for home food on a day’s shore leave, the lad flew down to Hyderabad, but was in for - eggplant ahoy!

Mr. Sea Legs couldn’t stop quaking in his shoes when served bharli vangi (spicy stuffed eggplant).

Hey, how was I to know! I thought he would enjoy some home cooked Marathi food…

I have narrated this story to the husband several times over the three decades, especially during this latest eggplant episode. He’s still counting…

And so am I – counting - the number of eggplant dishes I have had to creatively come up with to dispose of them.

And what a tasty comeuppance it was!

Vaangi Pohe (Beaten rice with eggplant)

The vaangi pohe is a typically Marathi dish – the eggplant lends a very silky interlude and a lovely dark purple contrast to the grainy, savoury yellow pohe. It also helps keep the pohe moist without having to add too much oil- there is nothing like the Heimlich maneuver to ruin a leisurely Sunday breakfast…


2 cups medium thick pohe (Beaten Rice)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium potato, boiled and cubed
1 ½ cup cubed eggplant (stored in salted water after cutting)
4 tablespoons green peas
2 finely chopped green chillies (or more)
5-6 curry leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
A pinch of hing
4-5 tbsps oil (I try to use as little as possible)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons grated coconut (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander


Sieve the pohe in a colander to get rid of pohe dust and chaff and pick the paddy bits, if any. Wash the pohe in cold water and drain in the same colander and keep aside for about 8-10 minutes.

Heat the oil in heavy bottomed kadhai. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add hing, chillies, curry leaves and cubed eggplant and sauté for a few minutes. Then add chopped onions and sauté till translucent and then add the cubed boiled potatoes and green peas and cook for a few minutes.

At this stage add the turmeric – if you don’t cook the turmeric too much, it will give a nice light yellow tinge to the pohe. Now quickly add the soaked pohe, salt and sugar to taste and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook for a further 5 minutes till you see white steam escaping the lid.

You will have to test the grain of poha to see if it is cooked. If the pohe are dry, sprinkle some water, cover and cook further for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and mix.

Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.

Some people like it with toppings like sev or crushed or whole papads. It is also served with yoghurt or a hot and spicy gravy called ‘tarri’ in Nagpur and surrounding areas.

I use a combination of tomatoes and lemon juice sometimes- tastes great. Also, adding vegies like cauliflower, carrots, capsicum, etc. Or just some peanuts and a lot of chopped onion also make great kanda pohe!

This is my fourth entry for my friend Preeti Deo's Ruchira Videshini giveaway event !


  1. Sounds great. BTW I love baigans and can eat them everyday! :)

    1. I am so glad you love baingans too ! It has so much potential ! :)

  2. LOL! Poor cousin. I do love eggplants though. in any form. you think we can make a halwa ?

    1. Hahaa! Let's make it Anshie ! If there can be an onion halwa, then can eggplant halwa be far behind ! :)

  3. Adding eggplant was new to me . thanks for sharing . happy to follow you..........visit me in your free time...........

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Sharanya. Vangi pohe is a very Marathi dish. I look forward to reading your posts!

  4. HI Shruti,

    can you give me recipe of Nagpur tarri (they give it with Aloo Poha)




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