This quick recipe serves as a tasty accompaniment to your lunch or dinner. The best suited are the oblong fat brinjals that one uses for begun pora or bharta, or thick long purple variety. I prefer the latter. The recipe I use is my version of a traditional deep-fried, Bengali dish. I know mine is different but this is how I like it.
How to choose eggplants?
Since these are just sliced eggplants spiced lightly, it is best to use those with few seeds. But then, how do you decide whether the one you take has less seeds? That is easy and practical. The eggplant that weighs light but looks large contains also less seeds. Hold the eggplant in your palm and try to use your judgment to decide whether it is light enough. You could probably try handling two eggplants of the same size on each palm. That should make it easier in the beginning.
Recipe: Begun bhaja ~ Spiced Pan toasted eggplants – my version
Serves: 3 persons
3 Eggplants, if using thick oblong variety
1 if using the fat big variety
3 tsp. red chilli powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Wash and pat dry eggplants. Cut into thick round slices about half a centimetre in thickness.
Mix the spices together with the salt well. Rub the spices over the sliced eggplants on both sides. What I do is rub very little oil into the spices and spread on a wide plate. I pat the eggplants lightly on both sides over the spice mixture and set them aside stacking them up in another plate.
Let them sweat for five minutes.
Heat a griddle and brush oil. Lay the slices the eggplants all over and toast both the sides till crispy, pouring a drop of oil on each when you turn them. See that the spices do not burn.
You must ideally fry them but I could not bring myself to do that. These are great for me.
Serve with rice and dal or just flatbreads. Eat them up as they are. They taste good while hot.
I am told the traditional recipe does not have chilli powder but the first time I tasted begun bhaja it did have chilli powder and I felt it tasted good, spiced. You know I cook in the present but each dish has a past. I could not bear to change the flavour or taste of the food that came with a memory attached.