As far back as I can remember Good Friday has been associated with Brinjal Chutney and Ganji (double boiled rice) as the Mangaloreans call it. At least in my mother's house. Back then, we hated going vegetarian at any time and the Good Friday tradition really took the cake. Lent was associated with vegetarian food and there was no respite. Our protests were in vain as my mother firmly wielded the culinary baton and insisted on this year after year. Over the years our grumblings ceased and I continued this tradition after I got married and had my own family. Sometimes we skipped the rice ganji and had the chutney with bread and butter. Mmmmm. And shall I tell you a secret...it's actually quite tasty and enjoyable. Add a blob of ghee and a crushed pappadam or two and this simple Good Friday Dish is transformed into comforting soul food!
Ganji (Rice Porridge) or Rice Conjee: 1 cup boiled rice and 6 cups water. Wash the rice three to four times in running water and pressure cook in 6 cups water for 20 minutes till soft. Add salt and keep warm.
Brinjal Chutney: 1 large purple brinjal; 1/4 coconut, grated; 2 green chillies, halved; 1 onion, sliced; 1/2 inch ginger; 1 large clove garlic; salt to taste and oil for seasoning.
Roast the brinjal on a wired pan (see photograph) on a slow fire, turning every 5 minutes until the skin is black and the brinjal reduced in size. You can use the oven too, but the fire gives a better taste. Cool and peel off the skin. Fry the onions, ginger, garlic, coconut and slit chillies in 1 teaspoon oil. Cool. Grind with the brinjal to a smooth paste. Garnish with a slit chilli and some grated coconut. Serve with hot Ganji before going for the 3 hour Friday Lenten Service!