Begun Bhaja | Bengali Pan-fried Brinjals

Begun Bhaja | Bengali Pan-Fried Brinjal
Begun Bhaja | Bengali Pan-Fried Brinjal

Begun Bhaja is perhaps the easiest dish the I have ever cooked and one of the most delicious. It was the perfect accompaniment to the yummy Bhoger Khichuri but I can see it becoming a staple in my home to accompany Sambar Rice or the simple Curd Rice.

Here is the recipe without much ado!

How to Make Begun Bhaja

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  1. Purple Aubergines or Brinjals – 4
  2. Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
  3. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Mustard Oil – 3 tbsp
  5. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Mix the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  2. Cut the brinjals into roundels about 1/4″ thick.
  3. Dip each side of the brinjal roundel in the spice mix and dust off the excess.
  4. In a large pan, heat the mustard oil to smoking point.
  5. Turn the heat to low, and let the pan and oil stop smoking.
  6. Turn the heat to medium.
  7. Place the brinjal roundels in the pan.
  8. Shallow-fry over low-medium heat till the side of the brinjal touching the pan is lightly browned.
  9. Flip the brinjal roundels over.
  10. Cook over low-medium heat till the side of the brinjal touching the pan is lightly browned.
  11. Serve the Begun Bhaja hot with Bhoger Khichuri.

Tips

  • Coat each brinjal roundel as soon as you cut it. Brinjal tends to turn black if left uncovered for long.
  • If you are cooking the Begun Bhaja in batches, then between batches you must clean the pan of all the residual fried masala and once again add fresh mustard oil and bring it smoking point. If you do not do this, then the masala from the previous batches tends to char and you will have baigun covered with burnt spice. 🙁
  • As the brinjals are frying, if you feel the need to add more oil, resist the temptation to add raw mustard oil to the pan. In a separate pan or ladle, heat  the oil to smoking point and then add to the pan with the frying aubergines.
  • Do not fry the brinjal over high heat. If you do, only the surface will fry while the inner part will remain raw. The perfectly cooked Begun Bhaja is so tender that it feels like malai!