Aubergine, eggplant, begun, brinjal- whatever name you give it, this plump fleshy vegetable with its glossy purple skin can be eaten in almost any way. It features in everything from dips to curries, even a pizza I once had in Capri! My take on demonstrating how versatile begun can be is going to be coated in poshto (poppy seeds) and grilled to give it charred flavour. After begun bhorta, this is my favourite way to have aubergines. It’s simple, irresistible and makes a great side to accompany a traditional Bengali feast.
Prep+cooking time: 15 mins
Servings: 5-6 servings
- 2-3 medium sized eggplants, sliced into thick wedges
- 4 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2-3 tsp mustard oil (reserve some to drizzle)
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp nigella seeds (aka kalonji/kala jeera)
- Soak poppy seeds, chilli flakes and kala jeera in a few tablespoons of water and mustard oil to make grinding easy. Ideally you’d use a pestle and mortar to get a paste-like consistency.
- Slit the aubergines and rub with turmeric and salt and finally the poppy seed paste.
- Heat a grill or griddle pan and leave the aubergines to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat this step for the whole batch. Serve immediately to avoid aubergines going soggy and losing colour and flavour.