Once, I had an awesome lunch with my Bengali friend – Arpita at her house. I was expecting that time, so, I could not imagine anything more than food! And what a splendid lunch it was (Daal fry, Pulav, plain rice, begun bhaja, bhindi fry, dahi wala parwal, some jackfruit preparation…and many more to add), simple-no-so-rich-not-so-spicy, well suited to my ‘then’ taste buds yet so delicious. I became fan of “Begun Bhaja” when I came to know about its very existence that time. I left with a wish to prepare such authentic (or may not be 100%) regional foods, be it any region/culture.
And, I saw it in one of my fav food shows a few weeks back and realized, YOU don’t need to be a Bengali to prepare a begun-bhaja. And then I waited for the best shiny, firm, spotless, scar-less baingan to arrive home to be converted into bhaja. I do it now, often.
Time: 15-20 mins (excluding marinating)
Serves: 10 slices
1 big firm, shiny eggplant – the purple variety for bharta
2 tbsp. mustard oil (see notes)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. garam masala (optional)
salt to taste
1.5 tsp. coriander powder (optional)
1 tsp. amchoor/ dry mango powder (optional)
1 tsp. red chili powder
Wash and pat dry the baingan.
Slice it in 1/2 inch thin roundels( 1 large eggplant gives 10-12 slices)
Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp. oil in a bowl, mix all the spices.
Coat this spice mix onto the slices, from both the sides.
Keep them covered for marinating for 15-20 mins. (optional step though recommended)
Now heat the remaining 1 tbsp. oil in a flat pan, preferably nonstick.
once the oil is hot, arrange the slices in 1 layer, should not be overlapping with each other.
Cook covered for 5-6 mins in a low-medium flame or until the lower side is brown.
Flip all the slices up side down and fry the same way.
Do the remaining slices in the same fashion.
If required, add a few drops of more oil
Relish with plain RICE and Daal or as finger food/starters with some chaat masala sprinkled over them!!
Notes: (tooooo many this time )
Eggplants taste great with mustard oil. But you can use regular oil of your choice.
I did shallow frying but deep frying is what they usually do. I feel (it’s just me!!) that deep frying stripes off the spices coating from the eggplant slices. & aren’t they more healthy, my way?
You can adjust the spices as blend with your taste. Marinating is something, I have not read in many of its recipes over the net but, it actually permits the spices mix reach inside the slices properly.
You can use garlic paste in the spice mix, just a hint of it, for a distinct strong flavor. Though, I am obsessed with garlics, be it a strongly flavored use or just a mild touch and I thought of using it in the marinade, I took a chance to skip and, voila, the slices were very biteful and yummylicious.