Begun Bhaja (Baingan Bhaja)

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Begun Bhaja, also known as Baingan Bhaja, are crispy and tender eggplant fries that are delicious to enjoy as a snack, side or appetizer. Thin slices of aubergines are dusted with seasonings and rice flour, then pan fried in mustard oil and served as a side with dal rice or khichdi or roti. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions with photos to make this classic Bengali style Begun Bhaja recipe.

overhead shot of begun bhaja or baingan bhaja slices in a cream colored plate

About Begun Bhaja

The Bengali word “Begun” or the Hindi word “Baingan” means eggplant or brinjals or aubergines. In Bengali language the word “Bhaja” means fries.

I simply adore eggplants. Stir fried, roasted, mashed…Any way they are prepared I am sure to love them! With a terrifically toothsome exterior and lightly flavored flesh, they are a very versatile ingredient that pairs well with nearly any dish.

Today I’m sharing with you my mom’s recipe for the popular Bengali style Begun Bhaja. These are fried eggplants, or eggplant fries, made by coating aubergine slices with vibrant Indian spices and rice flour, then shallow frying in mustard oil on the stovetop to crispy perfection. There is nothing complicated here: just wholesome ingredients kept simple so that the great flavors and textures really shine.

Generally the traditional version is made by simply frying the eggplant slices coated with ground spices. But in my recipe I dredge the eggplant with some rice flour. This helps to give some crispy taste to the fries.

The spiced eggplant slices can also be baked or air-fried. I have listed the baking and air-frying details in the ‘faqs section’ and in the recipe card below.

Baingan Bhaja is easy to make in under 30 minutes, and are great to enjoy for a hearty snack or casual lunch.

Try this recipe as a gluten-free and vegan-friendly dish whenever you need some (fried :)) veggies on the plate as a side dish!

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Begun Bhaja

Prep and Marinate Baingan (Eggplant)

To make the Begun Bhaja you need the large variety of eggplant similar to the one which we use for Baingan Bharta or Baba Ganoush. The larger varieties of brinjal have less seeds and more flesh.

1. Rinse 1 large eggplant (350 to 375 grams or 1.5 to 2 cups when sliced) and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Slice them into 0.5 cm (¼ inch) width rounds.

Optional step: To get rid of bitterness of the eggplant, place them in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. This helps to remove the bitter juices if any from them. Pat the eggplant slices dry with a clean kitchen towel.

eggplant slices on a wooden board

2. Then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder, ½ teaspoon sugar and salt to taste.

To add some tangy taste and more flavor, you can add about ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder and 1 teaspoon of dry mango powder (amchur powder).

spices and salt on eggplant slices

3. Mix and rub the spices and salt on the slices evenly.

spices coated evenly on baingan or eggplant rounds

4. Set aside and let the eggplant slices marinate for 5 to 7 minutes while you gather the remaining ingredients.

baingan or begun slices after marination

Dredge Eggplant

5. Now add 5 to 6 tablespoons rice flour to a plate. If you prefer you can skip coating the slices with rice flour. But omitting rice flour will make them less crispy and they will absorb more oil.

You can also use besan (gram flour) or chickpea flour or semolina (sooji) or all-purpose flour for dredging.

rice flour in a  black plate

6. Take each slice and place it on the rice flour.

an eggplant round placed on rice flour

7. Coat the slices evenly by turning all around the flour. Dust off the remaining rice flour by gently tapping the slices.

begun or eggplant round coated with rice flour

Make Baingan Bhaja

8. In a shallow frying pan or skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of mustard oil or preferred neutral-flavored oil.

Place the brinjal slices in the hot oil. You want to be sure that the pan isn’t too crowded or they won’t fry properly. So you might need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan.

pan frying aubergine or eggplant slices

9. When one side is crisp and golden, turn over each slice.

pan frying baingan slices in oil

10. Fry the second side until golden. You can flip back and forth a couple of times for even cooking.

A way to check if the eggplant is cooked is by piercing it with a knife. If the eggplant has become tender and softened, the knife will pass through it easily without any resistance.

crisp cooked baingan bhaja

11. Place the fried brinjal slices on kitchen paper towels so that the extra oil is absorbed. Fry the remaining dredged eggplant slices in batches.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons mustard oil or as required later while frying the remaining batches. 

12. Serve Begun Bhaja immediately while hot and crispy. You can have them as a side vegetable fried dish with a comforting meal of dal and steamed rice or khichdi with some yogurt or with roti or bread.

stack of baingan bhaja in a cream colored plate

FAQs

Can I make Baingan Bhaja with other flours?

Absolutely, feel free to use your preferred flour to dredge the eggplant. Try chickpea flour, gram flour (besan). You can use all-purpose flour or semolina (rava or suji) as well if you aren’t concerned with this being a gluten-free snack.

What can I use instead of mustard oil to fry the eggplant?

While I use mustard oil to make Begun Bhaja, if this is not available to you simply swap for sunflower oil or other high smoke point neutral-tasting oil.

What should I serve with Begun Bhaja?

Enjoy as a snack with plain yogurt, a green chutney, or your favorite sauces. Add a basket of naan or roti for a hearty appetizer.

As a side dish they are delicious to pair with dal, rice, or just about any Indian meal!

You can even use freshly fried Baingan Bhaja to make sandwiches. Load slices of bread with the eggplant, lettuce, slices of onion, and any sauce you like for a filling lunch.

Can this recipe be made ahead?

The Begun Bhaja definitely have the best taste and texture when enjoyed right after being fried. Leftovers can be stored in a container and eaten on the same day. But they will become soft and won’t taste crispy.

Can I bake or air fry Baingan Bhaja?

Yes, you can certainly use any method you like to cook the fried eggplant. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes, or until brown and crispy.
Air fry at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggplants are crisp and tender.

For both methods be sure to flip the slices halfway through cook time. Also brush the slices with some oil when they are half done.

More Vegetable Fries!

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overhead shot of begun bhaja slices in a cream colored plate

Begun Bhaja | Baingan Bhaja

Begun Bhaja are thin slices of aubergines dusted with seasonings and rice flour, then pan fried and served as a side with dal rice or khichdi or roti.
4.87 from 22 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Bengali
Course Side Dish
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant large – 350 to 375 grams, (baingan or aubergine)
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar – optional
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder – optional
  • 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) – optional
  • salt as required
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons rice flour or gram flour (besan)
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons mustard oil for pan frying, you can also use sunflower oil

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse the eggplant (baingain) well in water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Now slice the eggplant in ¼ inch thick rounds.
  • Optionally you can soak these slices in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water, remove and pat dry all the slices with a kitchen towel.

Making Begun Bhaja

  • Now sprinkle turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, salt and sugar on the eggplant slices. You can also use garam masala powder and dry mango powder if you prefer.
  • Mix the ground spices, seasonings evenly all over the eggplant slices.
  • Set aside to marinate the eggplant slices for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons mustard oil in a shallow frying pan or skillet. Take rice flour in a plate. Dredge and coat evenly each slice with rice flour. Dust off the extra rice flour.
  • Gently place the dredged eggplant rounds in the medium hot mustard oil. Do not overcrowd the pan with the slices.
  • Pan fry until crisp and golden brown on both sides on medium heat. Flip them a couple of times for even cooking.
  • Once they becomes nicely crisp and golden then place the begun bhaja on paper towels so that the extra oil is absorbed.
  • Serve baingan bhaja hot with yogurt or any yogurt dip and some bread or roti or with dal rice or khichdi. They can also be stuffed between bread slices and had as a snack.
  • For best taste have them hot as soon as they are pan fried.

Notes

  • Slice the brinjals into rounds that are neither too thin or too thick. The thicker slices will take more time to cook and there are chances that the center is not cooked fully. Thin slices will get browned fast.
  • Brinjal slices absorbs oil while frying. 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 Brinjal slices does not absorb much oil and secondly, rice flour makes the coating crisp from outside. So from outside the Brinjal slices are crisp whereas from inside they are soft. 
  • You can also use chickpea flour or besan (gram flour). If you are not worried about being gluten-free then you can even dredge with all purpose flour or semolina (cream of wheat or sooji).
  • Brinjal slices 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 brinjal are bitter. Some of them can be very sweet. However, it is 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 with a high smoking temperature.
  • You can either shallow fry or deep fry the baingan.
  • The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
  • To bake or air fry – Bake the eggplant rounds at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Air fry at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggplants are crisp and tender. For both methods be sure to flip the slices halfway through the cook time. Also brush the slices with some oil when they are half done.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Begun Bhaja | Baingan Bhaja
Amount Per Serving
Calories 258 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Sodium 301mg13%
Potassium 286mg8%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 5µg5%
Calcium 14mg1%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 26µg7%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 21mg5%
Phosphorus 39mg4%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Begun Bhaja post from the blog archives first published in August 2009 has been republished and updated on 2nd September 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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45 Comments

  1. Very simple and nice recipe. Tried it with Bengali Khichdi. Tasted yummy and without much oil. Thanks for sharing and please keep sharing good recipes.5 stars

    1. Welcome Manisha. Thanks for your appreciation and positive feedback on begun bhaja recipe.

  2. Hi,
    Want to try to recipe.. Just a question.. Can I put the baingan in the oven instead of frying it?5 stars

    1. yes sharmila, you can bake at 180 degrees celsius till the baingan gets crisp and golden. some oil can be brushed on the sliced baingan.

    1. you can use all purpose flour. or you can even skip flour. seasoning can also be added.

  3. Tried this recipe with besan instead of rice flour ! It was great too!
    Thanks and have a nice day!?

    1. welcome alisha. thanks for sharing positive feedback on begun bhaja recipe. yes with besan the taste will also be good.

  4. Hello there, I tried this recipe and I must say it was very yumm… I wish i could post some pics to show how it came out… Dal, chawal and Baingan, it was just yummy… Thanks so much for the recipe! πŸ™‚5 stars

    1. welcome snigdha. glad to know this. you can send photos to facebook page.

  5. Really nice and tasty recipe!Also very simple to make.Good getaway from usual masalas i am preparing.
    However,it’s a must to have paper towel to soak up all the fat.Otherwise it would be too oily.
    Had those baingans with mashed potatos,so India met West in a way:D5 stars

  6. Thanks a ton,Dassana! Ur blog has been a boon for beginners like me πŸ™‚ U simplify the most complicated of the recipes and give us the confidence to try new dishes! I started cooking with very less interest n am now enjoying cooking.. Thanks to you! Keep going!

    1. welcome sapana. glad to know that you are enjoying cooking. its a good creative activity.

  7. I made this last night for dinner and it was so delicious! I served it with mint coriander chutney and I wanted to eat it all! The recipes on your site are easy to follow and delicious!

    1. thanks laura. this is my favorite too. i usually pair these fried eggplants with moong dal khichdi or just dal-rice.

  8. Want to add that, here in Bengal, we add a little sugar, along with the salt and turmeric, during marination. This is a very important part and is actually the ingredient that removes the mild bitterness and imparts the sweet tinge that you have mentioned.4 stars

  9. Hi,

    There might be an confusion, as it more like beguni, reason being…in begun bhaja, we bengali never add flour or any masala, flour is mixed in beguni preprations. In begun bhaja, eggplant is marinated with salt, sugar & haldi only, than shallow fry.
    Beguni, we make flour batter, with maida(cake flour), salt, chilli powder, ajwain or black cumin & than thin slices of eggplant is dipped & than deep fried. served hot with amchur powder sprinkled to it.

    1. thanks tiya for letting me know the difference between beguni and begun bhaja. i know in begun bhaja no flour or spices are added. this way my mom makes and thats why in this recipe i have used rice flour and red chilli powder. since i have shared her recipe, i have posted it the way she makes this.

  10. Hi,
    Just want to let you know that your recipes are awesome. They’re easy to make and taste great. I love the tips you provide along with the recipes. I recently got married and my hubby had no expectations in terms of my cooking abilities. He grew up in calcutta so I ,made Bengali chana daal using your recipe, he was so impressed! He said it was just like how they get it in wb. Today I’m making Bengali khichdi with bengan bhaja. I’m sure it will come out well πŸ™‚

  11. Hi dassana,

    I ve been meaning to let u know for quite a while now how much I lov ur recipes. They are exactly how my mom made stuff n sometimes since I m in a different timezone I cant call her for tips. Now I justopen ur wwebsite. … ur cooking is great. Simple traditional food just the wayI like it without any fancy ideas…. thankyou so much for taking out time n sharing ur recipes… u r a pro…btw is the pic really you… u look awfully young to b this expertised… πŸ™‚
    Cheers richa

    1. thanks a lot richa. your comment means a lot to me. yes its my pic, taken almost year and a half back. i started cooking when i was very young. so its like a skill developed over a certain period of time and much more after i started to blog… and yes, i have to thank my genes and my diet for looking so young πŸ˜‰

  12. Hi Dassana,
    I tried this yesterday and it came out very well.. My hubby and son liked it..Thank u sooo much 4 posting such nice recipes…
    I made this for lunch and had a few slices left over.. so i used them in my burger and it was so tasty.. I thought of sharing it with u.. It goes this way.. First, I toasted the burger bun by adding generous amt of butter, then I spread Hummus (yeah I had made hummus 2 days b4 for some other dish and refrigerated it) on both the sides of the bun. Then kept these baingan baja slices , then as usual a cheese slice and topped with fresh veggies onion, tomato and cilantro… hmmm yummy it was.. and i named it as B (cube) burger meaning baingan baja burger… Hope u try it too when u make it the next time… πŸ™‚5 stars

    1. thanks indu. the burger you made is really a good one. thanks for sharing your baingan bhaja burger recipe. when there are leftovers at home, i just brush some olive oil on bread and sandwich the baingan bhaga. sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top and just serve them like that. will try your way next time.

  13. I tried this recipe last night n yet again…. ! No words to describe how tasty it was , and it looked wonderful too , though i skipped the rice flour but still the taste was awesome … i think i am addicted to this site now !! ;p

  14. Baingan bhaja recipe looks easy to prepare and tasty as well.
    similar to this is another recipe: whisk half cup of fresh yoghurt and put in a wide plate.
    take out the fried baingan dices from the frying pan into the yoghurt plate. Spread a little
    (one table spoon) yoghurt on the dices, add 3-4 mint or coriander leaves and serve.
    What a nice combination of White-brinjal color and top with green leaves.

    1. thanks for this suggestion. if i am not mistaken, then this dish is called as baingan borani. i shall surely try next time.

  15. Hey, I loved this post and mainly the clicks, they look so tempting, even though I am not too much into sauted aubergines still looking at these pics I am surely going to try this soon… lovely!

  16. hi there
    i have always been a silent reader at yr blog but i must say yrs is a blog where everyone should look forward into, innovative + easy and tasty recipes being a maharahtrian yr recipes are authentic and this brinjal fry is something new to me with rice flour YUMMY IT WAS when i tried it out last nite and keep posting like this recipes
    take care

  17. Hey thanx for the recipe…my husband loves baingan fries and I didn't know how to make them . Will try it out tonight ! Thanx again πŸ™‚