The word Rasavangi is very evocative and exotic, isn’t it? In Marathi (or rather the Bambaiya Hindi which is spoken in Mumbai), Vangi means Brinjal or Aubergine. And Rasa in most Indian languages brings to mind a gravy. So I always thought Rasavangi is brinjal cooked in gravy. It was only recently I learnt that it is, in fact, a South Indian term and most probably used by the Brahmins. All this time, I used to call this dish a Pumpkin Sambhar. Anyway, here’s the Rasavangi I made recently.
White Pumpkin Rasavangi
- 1 large white pumpkin, peeled and chopped into small pieces after discarding the seeds and fibre
- 1 lemons sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes, then squeezed so the fibres are removed and the tamarind water separated
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- 2-3 tbsp chana dal
To be ground into a paste:
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 6-8 dried red chillies
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp chana dal
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp broken urad dal
- 5-6 curry leaves
- Cook the toor and chana dal until they lose their shape. Whisk them well till it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Keep aside
- In a pan, take 2 tbsp oil and when the oil warms, add the dried red chillies, coriander seeds and chana dal and stir until they start becoming red. Then add the coconut and keep stirring till the coconut becomes reddish brown and loses all moisture and becomes completely dry. Keep aside to cool.
- When cool, blend to a fine powder. If your blender can’t do this, you can also add water and blend it to a fine paste.
- In the same pan, put the chopped pumpkin and turmeric powder with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and ensure it does not burn. You can also add a bit of salt here so the pumpkin is not bland.
- Cook the pumpkin till it becomes tender. At this point add the tamarind water and boil until the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
- Now add the cooked dals and the ground paste and check for seasoning. When the Rasavangi starts to boil again, remove from the flame.
- Take a smaller skillet and pour in the remaining 1 tbsp oil. When the oil heats up, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dal and let it brown slightly. Add the curry leaves and switch off the flame. Pour this seasoning over the Rasavangi.
- Serve hot as a gravy with rice or even as an accompaniment to a traditional South Indian meal. If serving as an accompaniment, make it thicker than usual. This can also be eaten with Indian flatbreads.