My nani (maternal grandmother) is not from Bengal but she loved the region so much that she gave her daughter and then me a Bengali name! But her love for the region was not just for names, but also for food. One of the dishes my mother remembers from her childhood is nani’s baingan bhaja. Nani used to make it mostly as a snack.
From what I understand, bhaja is the method of preparation. You can follow the same recipe to make potato bhaja or bitter gourd or bottle gourd bhaja as well.
By Ashima Goyal Siraj
Preparation time: |Cooking time: |Serves: 2
3 long eggplants
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder (or paprika)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
Oil for shallow frying
- Cut the eggplant into thin slices (~1/2 inch). Soak in salt water as you cut.
- Mix red chilli powder, turmeric, salt and poppy seeds in a bowl. Poppy seeds give the baingan slices crispiness. But they are not essential to the recipe. Drain the eggplant slices, and rub each with the spice mix on both side. Keep aside for 15 – 20 mins.
- Heat oil in a shallow frying pan. Once the oil is hot, shallow fry in batches. Flip in the middle and cook until the eggplant is soft and cooked. Be careful not to overcook else the slices will lose their shape.
- note: traditionally, mustard oil is used for shallow frying the bhaja, but I used regular vegetable oil because I find mustard oil very strong.
- Serve hot as a snack or a vegetarian accompaniment in the thali.
- I had a few leftovers and the next day I used them as filling for my lunch sandwich and they tasted awesome.