Preparation / Directions:
Cook the rice. The usual way - but to get it dry, fluffy and light (not at all sticky).
Skin the eggplant and chop it into cubes; sprinkle lemon juice on the cubes (+ some salt) and let sit for 30 minutes or so.
In a large saucepan, heat some oil and when hot, toss the spices in and fry for 2-3 minutes. When the color has changed to dark, use a slotted spoon and toss the contents into a plate lined with a paper napkin (this will drain out the oil sticking to the spices).
Add some oil to the pan and when hot, toss the coconut in and keep stirring until the coconut becomes brown/golden. Remove in a manner similar to the spices.
To the pan, add some oil and when hot, add the soaked eggplant cubes and stir until about 3/4 cooked. Remove the eggplant and keep in a warm container.
In a blender (or coffee grinder), blend the spices and coconut until you have a powder.
In a pot, boil one-quarter cup water, lots of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. turmeric and some salt.
Into the cooked rice, toss the contents of the pot and stir. The rice should take on the color of the turmeric.
Now, add the contents of the blender. The rice should take the color of the spice-mix and here and there, you can see a glimpse of the yellow turmeric color.
Squeeze lemon onto the eggplant; let sit for 1-2 minutes; toss the eggplant into the rice and stir.
Taste a bit; if you need salt, add. If you feel something is missing, squeeze some lemon, stir and repeat. (You may choose to add some salt that way too) Vangi bath is ready. Serve with yogurt raita/pachadi.