Baingan Bhaja or Begun Bhaja are pan fried or shallow fried marinated slices of Aubergines. Begun Bhaja is a Bengali dish and there are a lot of variations to this recipe.
To make the Baingan Bhaja you need the large variety of eggplant similar to the one which we use for Baingan Bharta. The larger varieties of baingan have less seeds and more flesh.
When cooked the flesh become tender with a slight sweet tinge to it… Just scooping up the tender cooked flesh with some bread is so delicious.
This is my mom’s recipe and I just love to have the eggplant fries with some bread or rotis. One of the dishes I often make when I am short of time & creative ideas.
I simply love aubergines sauted, stir fried, roasted, mashed… cooked in any way. It is one of my favourite veggies.
In this Baingan Bhaja recipe, I have used mustard oil for frying the baingan and rice flour to coat the baingan. However, even sunflower oil or any other oil will taste good. Rice flour gives a nice crispiness to the fries. You can also substitute the rice flour with chickpea flour.
Again using rice flour is optional. You can just marinate the baingan slices in the masala and then fry it directly. Both ways they taste good.
Step by Step Baingan Bhaja or Begun Bhaja Recipe:
1: Put the sliced brinjals/baingan in salt water for 20 minutes. This is so that the bitter juices get removed.
2: Now marinate the baingan with all the spice powders except rice flour. Keep for 5-7 minutes.
3: Now take rice powder in a plate. Take each slice and coat it with the rice powder. Ensure that you coat the marinated slices evenly. Dust off the remaining rice powder by gently tapping the slices.
4: In a shallow pan heat mustard oil. Fry the baingan/brinjal slices on both sides till crisp and golden.
5: Drain baingan slices on kitchen paper towels.
Begun Bhaja can also be served as a snack or side dish. There is no garnishing done in this dish. Just to get some color for photography, I have added specks of mint leaves here and there. These fries have to be served hot as soon as they are fried.
Tips for the eggplant/baingan fries:
- The baingan can be sliced into thinner or thicker slices. Thicker slices will take more time to cook.
- Baingan absorbs oil while cooking. So, it is always better to coat the slices with some flour. Here in this recipe I have used rice flour. It serves two fold benefit – firstly, the baingan does not absorb much oil and secondly, rice flour makes the coating crisp from outside. So from outside the baingan is crisp whereas from inside it is soft.
- You can also use chickpea flour/besan or all purpose flour/maida.
- Baingan discolors quickly once it is chopped. Hence, you can put the chopped slices in a bowl of water or use it right away.
- Not all baingans are bitter. Some of them can be very sweet. However, its better to put the slices in salted water as one cannot come to know by its look or appearance if it is bitter or not. As a general rule, while buying bigger eggplants, the eggplant should be light with a firm skin.
- I have used mustard oil, but you can use any good vegetable oil for frying.
- You can either shallow fry or deep fry the baingans.
Baingan Bhaja or Begun Bhaja recipe below:
- 1 large eggplant (baingan/aubergine) cut into half inch round slices
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder/hadli
- 1 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
- 1 tsp dried mango/amchur powder (optional)
- rice flour as required
- salt as required
- mustard oil or sunflower oil for frying
- Rinse the eggplant (baingain) well in water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Now slice the eggplant in ½ inch thick roundels.
- Soak these slices in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Remove and pat dry all the slices.
- Now add all the spice powders and salt and mix the slices well. Marinate for 5-7 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan. Take rice flour in a plate. Coat each slice with rice flour. Dust off the extra rice flour.
- Now pan fry the baingan slices till crisp and golden brown on both sides.
- Drain baingan slices on paper tissues.
- Serve Baingan Bhaja hot with yogurt or any yogurt dip and some bread or rotis or naans.