Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Begun Bhaja (Pan Fried Eggplants) and the Giveaway Winners!

I am pleased to announce the winners of my 7th blog anniversary giveaway - Radha Bharathy and Lisa! Both of you get a copy of Sandeepa's entertaining cookbook Bong Mom's Cookbook. You will be receiving a message from me shortly. Congratulations, both! And a big thank you to all that participated!

I have fallen off the tracks yet again in my Eating Better resolution. On one of my better days, I had made these pan fried eggplants aka Begun Bhaja. The typical Bengali recipe for this has only turmeric and salt. I have used a very aromatic Bengali garam masala powder here, apart from cayenne pepper for heat. You can spice the eggplants any way you want to - amchur, sambar powder, garam masala, Kolhapuri masala, Cajun spices even - just about anything really! Just don't call it Bengali :) This was the perfect accompaniment to my garlic-tomato dal and rice lunch that day. It also makes for a great appetizer.


1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4" thick roundels
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder/cayenne pepper or to taste
1 tsp Bengali garam masala powder (optional)
Oil for frying, preferably mustard
salt to taste


Mix the spices/powders and salt together. Place the eggplant slices in a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix on top.
Toss to combine and let sit for 15 minutes.
Heat a tbsp of oil oil in a thick bottom pan until piping hot. Place eggplant slices on the pan, making sure they don't overlap. Cook on medium-low until slightly charred, about 4-5 minutes.
Flip and cook the same way on the other side, adding more oil if needed.
Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.
Serve with rice and dal.

Note: Some of the slices were cut too thin (with the mistaken thought that they might turn crispier) but they were too oily. At least a 1/4" thickness is required.


Hamaree Rasoi said...

Very delicious and inviting brinjal preparation.

Priya Suresh said...

Wonderful begun bhaja, makes me hungry..COngrats to the winners.

Linda said...

Hi Vani,

I am growing eggplants but they are slow slow slow. I may have to visit the farmer's market so I can try this :)

The 'suggested post' at the bottom here was Beetroot Thel Dala -- from there I hopped around to your other beetroot posts. I *love* beets and have been neglecting them too long; thanks for the reminder!

Vani said...

Thanks, Deepa and Priya!

Linda - I love beets too! I think that label has the most posts among vegetables on my blog :) You grow eggplants too? It must be really nice to be able to pick veggies fresh from your backyard and cook with them! I have to get into gardening sometime :)

Lubna Karim said...

Congrats to the winners.....Eggplant is my fav.....and this looks absolutely yum.....

Nagashree said...

I make this often at home as most of the family is hardcore eggplant fans :-). Bengali garam masala sounds delicious.

Lisa said...

I can't believe I won! Thank you so much. I'll be in touch shortly with my details.

This is a lovely recipe and I'm always looking for new ideas for eggplant

Unknown said...


are you in India still or back to USA? Love your recipes....keep posting.

Smitha Kalluraya said...

Just came across your blog.. Even im a mysoorean.. Great collection of recipes u have. I'll surely follow your blog..
Do visit my site..

Anuradha said...

This is my favourite dish oriya we call it "baigan peethau bhaja" mom makes it with a little bit of variation..she adds little bit of ginger garlic paste and rice flour in this.

Vani said...

Hey thanks, all!

Anuradha/Surabhi - I want your mom's recipe! :)