Sunday, October 05, 2014

Begun Bhaja - Pan-Fried Eggplant Slices

Begun Bhaja
The people of Bengal in India are very fond of eggplant. The big & round eggplant are the most common variety found in India. The long & thin oriental eggplant are, in my opinion, sweeter and have less seeds. Cut down the center vertically and then cut into four pieces, they are tossed with turmeric and salt and left to rest for 10 minutes before pan-frying. Covering the skillet while they fry allows steam to collect in the pan which cooks the eggplant faster without using much oil. I find that oriental eggplants use less oil to brown than the round varieties.

Begun bhaja is had as part of a daily meal as well as a starter for a festive meal. It's quick & easy to prepare and should be pan-fried just before the meal is served.

2 oriental/Japanese eggplants, each cut in 8 pieces
1/4 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  1. Toss eggplant pieces in turmeric & salt and set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Place each piece face down in the oil & lower heat to medium.
  4. Cover pan and fry until golden brown, turn over and fry until cooked.
  5. Pan-fry the eggplant in batches and do not crowd the pan.
Serve as a first course with steamed Basmati rice.

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