Begun Bhaja (Bengali Style Fried Eggplant) are thick slices of eggplant coated with a spice mix and fried in mustard oil until crisp. Serve it with dal rice or luchi for a hearty meal (vegan, gluten-free).
If you are an eggplant fan, then here are some more easy Indian eggplant recipes that you can prepare for your everyday meals – Baingan Methi, Aloo Baingan, Easy Punjabi Baingan Bharta, Kalonji Baingan, Masaledar Bharwa Baingan, and Kashmiri Dahi Baingan.
About This Recipe
Begun Bhaja (Bengali-Style Fried Eggplant) is a traditional Bengali dish made by coating thick slices of eggplant in a spicy rice flour mixture and then shallow frying in hot mustard oil until crisp.
It is best served on the side with any Bengali-style meal. Its crispy texture also makes it a perfect evening snack.
This Begun Bhaja recipe is vegan and gluten-free and you can easily double or triple it.
Baingan (Eggplants) – Baingan Bhaja is prepared using the large purple variety of baingan also called Bharta Baingan in Hindi.
Try to choose a male egg plant as it has fewer seeds and is less bitter. You can check male and female brinjals by looking at the indentations at the bottom. Females have long indentations while the male has round 🙂
Rice Flour – Rice flour gives a perfect crispy texture. You can replace rice flour with chickpea flour (besan), all-purpose flour (maida), or poppy seeds, fine semolina (sooji).
Mustard Oil – For the authentic traditional Bengali flavor, use only mustard oil to make this dish. But if you do not prefer the strong flavor of mustard oil, then you can use vegetable oil too.
Spices – You will need basic spices such as turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, and salt.
You can also add a little amchur powder (dry mango powder) or chaat masala to add some tanginess to the rice flour mixture.
Some people also add garam masala powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder to their spice mix.
Sugar – A little sugar is added to balance the flavors.
How To Make Begun Bhaja
Wash a large eggplant and wipe it dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into 2 cm thick slices.
Note – Keep the brinjal slices soaked in water until ready to use otherwise they will turn black from oxidation. The best is to cut the eggplant just before you are ready to cook it.
Wipe the slices dry with a kitchen towel if they were soaked in water to remove any excess water.
Mix ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ cup rice flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt on a shallow plate.
Press the baingan slices in the rice flour mixture to coat them well from both sides.
Heat 2-3 tablespoon of mustard oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, arrange the eggplant slices on the pan in a single layer and shallow fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side as well.
Transfer the fried baingan to a plate lined with kitchen tissue to get rid of the extra oil and serve!
Fry the remaining slices in the same manner.
Pro Tips By Neha
Cut the brinjal into same-size slices. It will make sure the slices are cooked evenly. Also, the slices to make begun bhaja should be thick, approx 2 cm each. If you cut them too thin, they will become mushy.
You can cut long slices instead of round and then it’s called Lomba Begun Bhaja.
You can choose to skip coating the brinjal in rice flour and just fry it with spices.
Adding a teaspoon of sugar along with the spices gives a nice caramelized texture to the brinjal after frying.
Fry the brinjal in mustard oil to get a unique taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, baingan bhaja recipe is prepared using the round large variety of eggplant (Bharta Baingan) but you can use the long thin variety too.
Just slice it in half vertically, coat it with the spiced rice flour mixture, and fry.
I will not suggest you make it ahead of time. Begun Bhaja will become soggy and oily if kept for more than 30 minutes.
Yes, you can.
Bake at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes or until brown and crispy.
Air fry at 190 degrees Celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes, then flip and air fry for another 10 minutes or until the eggplants are crisp and tender.
If the eggplant is bitter, then soak it in water along with 2 teaspoon of salt. Then rinse and use in the recipe. Soaking the brinjal in salted water reduces the bitterness.
Begun Bhaja and Khichuri are a perfect combination and are loved by all Bengalis.
You can also serve it as a side dish with Dal Rice, Aloo Bhaja, Fish Curry, and Phulko Luchi.
They are also a perfect evening snacks to serve along with evening tea.
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Begun Bhaja Recipe (Bengali Style Fried Eggplant)
- 1 large eggplant (baingan)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- mustard oil (for frying)
- Wash the eggplant and wipe it dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into 2 cm thick slices.
- Note – Keep the slices soaked in water until ready to use otherwise they will turn black from oxidation. The best is to cut the eggplant just before you are ready to cook it.
- Wipe the slices dry with a kitchen towel if they were soaked in water to remove any excess water.
- Mix turmeric powder, chili powder, rice flour, sugar, and salt on a shallow plate.
- Press the baingan slices in the rice flour mixture to coat them well from both sides.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoon of mustard oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, arrange the eggplant slices on the pan in a single layer and shallow fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
- Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side as well.
- Transfer the fried baingan to a plate lined with kitchen tissue to get rid of the excess oil and serve!
- Fry the remaining slices in the same manner.