Monday, 4 January 2010

Begun Takti ( Fried aubergine in mustard sauce)

About the food:

This is a traditional Bengali dish, served with rice at the beginning of the meal. The mustard sauce gives the typical strong flavour, which smells like heaven. The flavour is accentuated if you use mustard oil for cooking. But take care friends, this dish might be too hot for the meek hearted. My advice, if you are cooking for guests, try it out earlier, you would not like your guests crying over their food.You might reduce the amount of the black mustard to reduce the strength of the sauce.

Bori, which is used in this dish, adds a crunchy flavour. It is a traditional Bengali delicacy, prepared from lentil pastes mixed with spices, and then moulding them by hand in small shapes and drying them in the Sun.

There are a variety of them, made from different mixtures of the lentils. Nowadays you can get readymade bori at the markets. But I remember my childhood days, when my grandma and aunties, and even my mom (!) homemade them and spread them on long cotton cloths, and dried them in the Sun. My cousins and myself were given the coveted job of guarding them against the crows and sparrows! But I can tell you, the market packed boris can never compete with the homemade ones, the memory of its taste and smell has made me nostalgic already!

Go ahead, and I am sure, you would love this dish!

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 big aubergines
100 gm small bori
vegetable oil for deep frying/Best with mustard oil.
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp black mustard seed
4 tbsp white mustard seed
2 tbsp poppy seed
4 whole green chilli, split through the centre
1/2 tbsp Indian five spices (Panch phoron)
1 pinch of turmeric
salt to taste


1. Cut the Aubergines longitudinally in long thin 2 inches slices. wash and put it in a bowl, sprinkle it with salt and 1 tbsp sugar and a pinch of turmeric. Cover at keep it aside for an hour.

Special tip: if the aubergines are kept as above, they release water from inside, and require much less oil when cooked.

2. Heat pan. Pour the oil, and when it smoulders, deep fry the bori until they are golden in colour. Drain them on a kitchen tissue, and put it aside.

3. Mix the mustard and poppy seeds, and grind them in a mixer. You can either dry grind them and then add half a cup of water; or you can wet grind them to form a thick paste.

4. Deep fry the aubergines. Take care not to over-fry them, as they can become charred. But also take care not to under-cook them: they should be crispy and golden brown when they are done.Drain them on a dish lined with a kitchen tissue.

4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the five spices and let them crackle.Add the green chillies, and fry a little. Pour the seed paste, and saute for 2 mins on low flame. Add salt, turmeric powder, and 1 tbsp sugar. Add 1/2 cup water to make a thick gravy. Put all the fried aubergines in the gravy and mix it well.

5. Pour it on the serving dish and garnish with the fried bori and serve.

Accompaniment: Best served with basmati rice.

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