Thick slices of eggplant are coated in a spiced marinade and then air fried to crispy perfection, resulting in what is popularly known as Begun bhaja in Bengali cuisine. The recipe is surprisingly easy to recreate in your kitchen, and the flavors and textures are unbeatable.
Interested enough to give the recipe a try? Here’s all you need to know about it before you go ahead.
Ingredients For the Recipe
You’ll need two simple sets of ingredients to make the crispy fried eggplant.
For the coating
- Besan: 3 tbsps
- Oil: 1 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Black Salt: 1 tsp
- Ginger garlic paste: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
- Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
- Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Cumin powder: 1 tsp
- Dry mango powder: 1 tsp
- Chaat masala: 1 tsp
- Garam masala: 1 tsp
- Kasuri methi: 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice: 2 tbsps
- Coriander leaves (chopped): ⅛ cup
- Water: As required
For the eggplant
- Eggplant (sliced): 1 whole
- Prepared coating
- Oil: As required
How to Make the Begun Bhaja
Once you have all your ingredients ready, here’s the step-by-step process you need to follow to make the begun bhaja from scratch.
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
Next, take a bowl. Add the besan, oil, salt, black salt, black pepper powder, red chili powder, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, chaat masala, Kasuri methi, coriander leaves, lemon juice, and garam masala. Mix all of them together. Add a little bit of water to make it into a thick paste.
Wash and dry the eggplant slices.
Coat every piece with the spice paste (coating) and ensure that both sides are evenly coated.
Spray the air fryer basket with oil and add the coated eggplants to it. Spray oil on top once again.
Air fry the eggplant slices at 400°F for 8-10 minutes or until completely cooked.
Enjoy this delicious recipe as a side dish with rice and dal or roti.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe calls for the use of besan, which is chickpea flour. Besan creates a nice coating around the eggplant, but it doesn’t have the crispiest outcome. You can add a bit of rice flour into the mixture, or substitute half of the quantity of besan with rice flour- it’ll help make the eggplant slices so much more crispy and crunchy.
You can prep a portion of the begun bhaja recipe ahead of time. The coating can be prepared upto a day in advance, but it is advisable to slice the eggplant and dip it into the mixture right when you are about to fry it.
This recipe calls for the eggplant slices to be air fried, but if you don’t have an air fryer, you can deep fry or even shallow fry them too. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to cooking the eggplant, baking them is the way to go!
Tips & Tricks to Make the Begun Bhaja
Ready to give the super easy recipe a try? Keep these additional tips and tricks in mind to make sure you nail the texture and flavor.
- Remember to pat dry each eggplant slice before you dunk them into the flour coating mixture.
- Add the eggplant slices into the prepared mixture right when you are ready to air fry them. Keeping them immersed in the mixture for more than a few minutes will cause them to lose water and get soggy.
- Your leftover begun bhaja can also be used as an additional filling for your sandwiches.
- To lend your air-fried eggplant slices an extra smoky and delicious flavor, use mustard oil to grease the air fryer basket and lightly drizzle over the slices.
- When cutting the eggplant into slices, make sure the slices are even in thickness. This will ensure that they are all cooked to perfection. Ideally, stick to 1 inch of thickness for each slice.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Ready with your batch of crispy fried eggplant? You can serve it as is or pair it with any chutney or dip of your choice.
Looking for more such delicious and easy snack recipes you can try out? Here are a few worth looking at.
Begun Bhaja: Crispy Fried Eggplant
Ingredients for the coating
- 3 tablespoon Besan
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black salt
- 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon Tumeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon Red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon Dry mango powder
- 1 teaspoon Chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri methi
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- ⅛ cup Coriander leaves, (chopped)
- 1 cup Water, (As required)
Ingredients for the eggplant
- 1 whole Eggplant , (sliced)
- 1 bowl Prepared coating
- 1 cup Oil, (As required)
- Pre-heat the air fryer at 400°Ffor 5 minutes.
- Next, take a bowl. Add the besan,oil, salt, black salt, black pepper powder, red chili powder, ginger garlicpaste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, chaatmasala, kasuri methi, coriander leaves, lemon juice, and garam masala. Mix allof them together. Add a little bit of water to make it into a thick paste.
- Wash and dry the eggplant slices.
- Coat every piece with the spicepaste (coating) and ensure that both sides are evenly coated.
- Spray the air fryer basket withoil and add the coated eggplants to it. Spray oil on top once again.
- Air fry the eggplant slices at400°F for 8-10 minutes or until completely cooked.
- Enjoy this delicious recipe as aside dish with rice and dal or roti.