Begun bhaja is a classic Bengali dish made using eggplants. Eggplant slices are coated in spices which are then shallow fried. The traditional recipe uses just turmeric powder, pinch of sugar, salt and fried in mustard oil. The use of minimal spices highlights the flavor of the eggplants. You can also add other spices like red chilly powder or garam masala to spice it up and use any cooking oil if you don't like mustard oil.
The long and fat variety eggplants are used to make this dish as they have more flesh and not much seeds. These pan fried eggplants are little crispy on the outside and soft inside. Begun bhaja is best served hot with khichdi, dal chawal or roti/chapathi and dal. You can have these as a snack too. I served this eggplant fry with chapathi and Bengali masoor dal and must say it was a delicious combo!
Notes and Tips
- You can spice up the eggplants by adding red chilly powder and garam masala.
- Use fat and long variety eggplants (the one used to make bhartha). You can also try with round purple brinjals but choose ones with less seeds.
- Do not slice the brinjal too thin. It will cook fast and will not turn crisp. If you cut it too thick, it will take more time to cook.
- Eggplants absorb lot of oil. To reduce the oil consumption, you can coat the slices lightly with rice flour.