Baingan bhaja or Begun bhaja is a Bengali recipe, where baingan (eggplant, aubergine) is cut into thin slices, marinated for about 20 minutes and then shallow fried. Soft, warm and mildly spiced, these discs of fried eggplant are served as snack but you can also enjoy them as a side with roti or rice.
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 and I from mine is nani’s baingan bhaja. Nani used to make it mostly as a snack.
Bhaja actually is a method of preparation. You can follow the same baingan bhaja recipe to make potato bhaja or bitter gourd or bottle gourd bhaja as well.
I love Bengali food preparation – the smell of mustard oil and their spices especially posto (poppy seeds). If you love eggplant, you should also look at the Bengali paanch phoran recipe where eggplant is cooked with a mix of 5 spices.
If you like this simple recipe, please leave a rating below and/or a comment after the post. It will really encourage me.
Baingan Bhaja/ Bengali Begun Bhaja
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 3 long eggplants
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli power
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 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.
- 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.
- The same recipe can also be used with other vegetables like potatoes, bottle gourd and sweet potato.
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You really should try this simple eggplant snack. It is easy and very tasty and a touch of Bengal in your plate! If you try this recipe, I would love to know how it went. Tag your picture with #weekendkitchen on instagram or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest.
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