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Beguni- Batter Fried Eggplants



Beguni- batter fried eggplants

Featured in the Delicious Links in The Kitchn.



Here we are waiting and praying for a few drop of rain. The earth is cracking in deep veins, dry and thirsty.The cool summer green has given way to patches of yellow and brown and an inexplicable stillness in the air. The scorching sun at 100 degrees and above, has been beating down on Texas for the past two months without mercy.

But the monsoons had arrived in India while we were there, the rain and the clouds bringing in relief and transforming the heat into a soothing, calming green -


after the rain


The rains also made our trip comfortable,


Chittorgarh fort

Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan India

and less tiring.


Udaipur - Udai Kothi

Hotel Udai Kothi – Udaipur, Rajasthan India





and Begunis are inseparable from the monsoon lyrics in Bengal.

Beguni - batter fried eggplants


The thunder marched in like a drum roll, followed by the drizzle which soon turned into a steady downpour satiating the thirsty earth. I woke up with the rains beating against the windows and could hear the calming swish of the tree branches that swayed with the cool wind. My girls were curled up by me on the bed, breathing softly in deep sleep like little kittens. All of a sudden I went back to my student days – the days I would have to travel and the monsoons were taken with mixed feelings.

The rain usually throws the city and transport into a fit; the muddy slushy roads and the delayed trains and buses always got us late, but the ecstasy of getting wet with my friends never diminished. Some days we reached school to see that it was a rainy day holiday and came back with more energy than we left in the morning. We stood by the open doors of the public trains, opened our raincoats and wrapped our book bags  and drenched ourselves – our feet resting in a pool of water that settled in our black polished mary janes.

We had the entire day to spend together doing nothing but severe mischief.


rain - walking in the rain


College days were a little different; I used to meet A briefly in the morning on my way to my college. Young love, nascent romance and under one umbrella in the rain was definitely not the same ecstasy as my school days, but lovely and worth every second.

The rain at home feels quiet different. It makes me a bit sad and reminiscent, but not the unhappy kind.


rainy day snack


It is also a nostalgic feeling that makes me want to stay by myself and make a trip down the memory lane – thinking and wishing for a million things -every droplet churning and creating memories.


rain drops


The rain in India also calls for deep fried delights. It is almost a tradition, probably in all parts of India to indulge into deep fried savories, tea and company when it rains. The downpour provides a perfect excuse to stay home, call on friends to come over and make a celebration with a snack party for no good reasons other than friendship.


Beguni - Aubergine Fritters




Beguni is a traditional Bengali recipe. The eggplant/aubergines/brinjals are sliced, coated with chick pea batter and deep fried until crisp. Often times these are served as a side with a meal – esp. with dal and steaming hot rice or with Khichuri. But they are also perfect rainy day snack and are enjoyed with a bowlful of Muri (puffed/krispy rice) . The savories are also a popular street food.


beguni batter

Many years back the “beguni” would be served during the wedding feast and me and my ma looked forward to this more than anything else. It is sad that this tradition is almost dead and the “beguni” is no longer a part of the wedding feasts. This humble delicacy has been replaced by more exotic menus.


Beguni- batter fried eggplants



Beguni- Batter Fried Eggplants


Ingredients:

  1. 1 small fresh eggplant/aubergine/brinjal, (about 7-8 inches long)
  2. 1 + 3/4 cup besan/chickpea flour/gram flour
  3. 1 cup water, or as much needed to make a thick batter
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (Optional)
  6. a nice pinch of baking powder
  7. salt to taste
  8. 3/4 teaspoon nigella/kala jeera/kalonji or white poppy seeds
  9. kala namak or rock salt (a culinary salt) to sprinkle on the fritters (Optional)
  10. oil for deep frying

Note: The amount of ingredients for the batter (flour, water and the spices) will change with the size of the eggplant. Adjust amount to your needs.




Preparation:

Wash the eggplants/brinjal/aubergines and pat it dry. Slice the eggplants/brinjal/aubergines vertically, and then slice each half into half moons – about 1/4 inch thick  slices.

Combine salt, turmeric, red chili powder (if you are using), besan/chickpea flour, baking powder,  and also the kalonji/nigella or the white poppy seeds.

Add the water to the flour mix and whisk well till the batter is of the consistency of a paste, but  a little more runny – the kind that coats the spoon, but drip out slowly. Make sure there are no lumps.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed wok/kadai/pan.

Use a small tong and dip the brinjal slices in the batter; coat the slices well and gently shake off the extra. Slide each one into the really hot oil into the frying pan.

Fry in batches and fry till they are deep golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle rock salt/kala namak, toss  and serve them as a snack – piping hot.



Beguni- batter fried eggplants


and savor every bite….


Beguni




Related Posts:

Aloo Vada – Fried Potato Dumplings

Dhoka – Fried Lentil Cakes

Pakora: Onion Fritters

Poppy Seed and Chickpea Crusted Potatoes


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24 comments to Beguni- Batter Fried Eggplants

  • That is one marvelous treat! They look and sound as if they could be very addictive.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • I could not wait to tell you that while you were away, I started slowly shopping for my small Indian Pantry =). Made easier of course when an Indian Spice store opened 2 doors down from the salon where I get my nails done.

    We have to keep the tradition alive! These make wonderful treats. Next to tomatoes, ggplants are my favorite summer vegetable to grow.

    Thanks for sharing memories old and new.

  • Rain in Chennai used to bring nothing but immense joy. Those dark Grey clouds made me ecstatic year after year and getting drenched was a ritual. Here I don’t enjoy them as much as I did in India as it gets terribly cold that I can’t even think of getting wet :( But one thing that didn’t change is my love for hot cuppa chai and deep fried snacks

  • We used to make these with zucchini sometimes, because we had so much growing in the garden. So these remind me of sunshine and summer! Delicious…
    One of the things I most wish I could experience in India is the monsoon…seems so beautiful.

  • sudipta banerjee

    I am very much delighted seeing our traditional beguni,dhoka in your blog.thanks a lot.

  • gorgeous photos as always Soma. And that beguni.. YUMMY! Just yesterday I made those and that was my dinner with some hot white rice. Love Beguni any time and this looks lovely.

  • This sounds perfect for one of the days in Ramadan! I miss the Indian monsoons so badly :-( Beautiful pictures!

  • Yay, you are back!! So good to see you after this long. I am sure you had a great trip and monsoon must really have been a saver :-) Gosh those photos of rain in you “aangan” made me nostalgic and miss home. These begunis are perfect for those days and we used to have them as well growing up.

  • The begunis looks so tempting Soma. Just perfect for the rains :)

  • Teri

    For many years I’ve feasted on various Indian foods made by friends who’ve travelled from various parts of India. Some day I hope to visit there, and from your pictures wouldn’t Rajasthan be a lovely place to go…

  • We had fried eggplants today!!! With italian plain batter…next time i’m going to make them according to your recipe, they seem delicious… ^_^

  • Wow, such beautiful pictures of your country. And the rain sounds wonderful- I miss rain here in Dubai. I love your eggplaat fritters. Nothing like a deep fried snack to keep you cozy on a rainy day!

  • Monsoon and rains always stir in a yearning for deep fried snacks like fritters and pakodas. I’ve eaten different vegetables deep fried from potatoes to spinach to bell peppers to raw bananas or chillies. Aubergine fritters is a first for me, but these look totally scrumtpious, will have to give it a try soon.
    Like I have said many times earlier, love your sense of writing Soma, which always seems so effortlessly done..
    Also, love that pic with the red slippers on wet ground, apart from the beautiful ones from your India visit.

  • You’ve captured the monsoons so well, with your pics and your words. And those pakodas look so good! Love the half-moon slices.

  • anh

    Such beautiful post Soma. Thanks for sharing with us some of the scenes from your trip.
    Now this fried eggplants sound so delicious! I love the styling too.
    And it feels great to have you back. *hugs*

  • LOve those pictures,Soma! And those fritters looks amazing.

  • Soma,
    Lovely pictures of monsoon and your trip ..and here it’s raining ..so you can guess how it feels and I am now craving for some beguni with my evening cup of tea…bhalo thekho ..hugs and smiles

  • Lovely photos of India and your words are like poetry! Never really associate rain with fried foods before, but this looks wonderful!

  • mom

    What a wonderful post !!!

  • Hi Soma;

    I reached your recipe through foodgawker. I live in Turkey. We also make this recipe with corn meal. I tried your recipe today. It really was an amazing and a delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing

  • Tanvi Chatterjee

    Having resided over two-and a half decade in India, now I do miss Bangalir ranna..like chochhori, alu-fulkopir danla, beguni, muri ghonto, sorshey diye machher jhol..thanks a lot for recipe here..will prepare it this evening..perhaps this is how I’ll be able to relish all my favorite dishes miles away from homeland.

  • felicity

    Mmmm! So good. We loved this. Thank you.

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