Begun Bhaja (Roast Eggplant)

I had never been a fan of the large, round eggplant. That’s primarily because it is most often used to make bharta (mashed eggplant), which I am not very fond of. I subscribe to an organic food basket where I get 10 kgs. of vegetables every week – whatever is grown in the farm. And the big, round eggplant is a constant member of this basket. I then began exprimenting with different recipes using this eggplant – and discovered the Konkani mashed eggplant. I liked this much more than the North Indian version. As part of this experiment, I asked Hari to make the very famous Bengali begun bhaja. In the airfryer and griddle. The result was outstanding, to say the least. Without further ado, let’s proceed to the recipe.

Begun Bhaja

1 large eggplant
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Wash the eggplant well and pat dry with a towel
Transfer to the airfryer and ‘fry’ for a couple of minutes (this is so that the skin becomes tender)
Remove from airfryer
Slice into 1/4″ rounds
Sprinkle the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt on the slices
Mix gently so that the masala is well coated on the eggplant slices
Set aside for about 5 minutes
Set the pieces on a hot griddle
Sprinkle a little water and roast till the eggplant pieces are browned
Flip over and roast in the same way
Transfer to a plate
Serve hot with red/brown rice or with Indian flat breads

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