In Bengali we call Eggplant as ‘Begun’ which literally means no goodness (Be-gun). But ‘Begun’ is a very tasty, popular and important vegetable in Bengali kitchen as many veg and non veg dishes are cooked with it. This is one of my favourite vegetables too. This vegetable is used in many veg (Shukto) or non veg (Illish Begun) dishes. ‘Begun Basanti’ is a very traditional cuisine which I learned from my mother which she learned from my Thakuma (Grandmother). I have cooked this recipe for the first time in lunch. And it was so tasty and flavorful you can’t imagine.
Coming to the recipe of ‘Begun Basanti’ the eggplant or ‘begun’ is cooked in rich and creamy mustard-yogurt based gravy. There are some other cuisines too which is cooked with mustard and eggplant like ‘Sorshe Begun’ (Eggplants in Mustard Sauce). Poppy seed paste and mustard paste are the two most favoured ingredients in Bong kitchen and goes very well with eggplant and some fish dishes. The other preparation that I make with ‘begun’ are ‘Doi Begun’, ‘Masaledar Baingan/Beguner Jhal’, ‘Dubki Wale Dahi Baingan’, ‘Begun Posto‘, ‘Bahri Begun‘ etc. Here is my first recipe with ‘begun’…… the famous ‘Begun Basanti’.
- 1 Eggplant – big (cut into 12 pieces)
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- ½ tsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
- 2 tsps Mustard Paste
- 1 tsp Poppy Seed Paste
- ½ cup Yogurt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Powder
- ½ tsp Mustard Seed
- 3 – 4 Green Chilies
- ½ cup Mustard Oil
- Salt – To taste
- Marinate the eggplant with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and a little salt and keep aside for 15 minutes. Heat oil in a nonstick pan and shallow fry the eggplant pieces and keep aside. You can deep fry as well. Lightly fry the green chillies and keep them aside too.
- In the same oil crackle some mustard seeds. Now add ginger paste and garlic paste and fry well.
- Add mustard paste and poppy seed paste and sauté it for some time. Next add ½ cup of water.
- Whisk yogurt adding a little water and 1 tsp sugar. Now add it to the kadai with turmeric powder, cumin powder and green chilli paste. Adjust salt. Cover it and cook the sauce for 4/5 minutes or till the sauce turns into golden thick gravy.
- Arrange the fried eggplants on your serving plate. Add chopped coriander to the sauce and mix well. Now pour the sauce on top of the fried eggplants. Cover it for some times.
- Garnish with fried green chillies and chopped coriander before serving.
~ Do not add yogurt on high heat, it will curdle.