Begun Poda is a classic Bengali Recipe. Begun refers to Eggplant, Poda means roast, and now you know why this dish must be such a favorite to many. Roasted eggplant is a delicious treat and prepared is so many different ways in different parts of the world. While I love all of those versions, this bengali style roasted eggplant - Begun Poda will always remain my favorite. It's comforting with steamed white rice!
The taste of Begun Poda is extremely earthy from charring the eggplant in open fire, and the mustard oil along with raw onion adds a lovely pungent flavor.
We like it spicy, so we add a few green chilies too and for the ultimate refreshing flavor to balance it all, a good dose of fresh cilantro leaves.
Ingredients for Begun Poda
Eggplant – You definitely need the big ones or the long ones. Making this with the small eggplants might not give that flavor or texture.
Red onion – I added a small red onion, but you can add more or else. Also, I wouldn’t recommend substituting red onion with white or yellow onion unless you absolute have to.
Tomato – This is optional. Sometimes I don’t like to add tomato, but most often I do because it adds a lovely sweetness.
Cilantro leaves – When you prepare the dish, you will realize how important it is to use fresh cilantro leaves to the dish. It brings a refreshing flavor to the earthy roasted eggplant.
Green chili – Again optional, but the refreshing heat from the charred green chili is unbeatable.
Salt for seasoning
Mustard oil – A mandate for Begun Poda. It is easily available in any Indian stores nearby and also in Amazon. Here is a link
WATCH THE VIDEO
How is Begun Poda different from Baigan Bharta?
Baigan Bharta is a classic-roasted eggplant dish popular is North of India.
The difference is that in Begun Poda, we don’t cook the eggplant once it’s roasted. We mash it with other ingredients and enjoy it with rice. As compared to Baigan Bharta where the roasted eggplant is cooked with onion, tomato and few other spices. I often love to enjoy Baigan Bharta with roti or paratha.
Can you roast Eggplant in oven or grill?
YES! However, for the best flavor and texture, I will highly recommend roasting the eggplant in direct open fire.
Here are few other Bengali Eggplant Recipes
- 1 large eggplant (1 and ¼ oz)
- 1 small onion (4 oz)
- 3 green chilies (preferably the Indian variety)
- 1 tomato (3 oz)
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Using a sharp knife, poke the eggplant in several places all around. Then massage little bit of oil on it. Also massage oil on the tomato and green chilies.
- If you have a wire rack place that on the stove. You could also place the eggplant directly on the open fire. With a wire rack you can roast the eggplant and the tomato simultaneously.
- Roasting tomato will take about 5 minutes, make sure to move it around to give even char all around.
- As for eggplant, it will take about 15 minutes.
- Also roast the green chilies in open fire or on a pan.
- Soon after roasting, place everything in a big bowl and cover it for 5 minutes. The hot steam will continue softening the eggplant and the tomatoes.
- Once it’s comfortable enough to handle, peel the skin off the eggplant and the tomato.
- Now, instead of mashing, I prefer to place the roasted eggplant on a big chopping board and chop it for few minutes with a sharp knife.(WATCH THE VIDEO) This method keeps the eggplant fluffy and also gives even texture.
- Once you have almost chopped the eggplant, sprinkle salt, add the tomato and the green chili to it and chop again.
- Then add the finely chopped onion, 1 tablespoon mustard oil and cilantro to the eggplant and chop it a few more minute. Taste for salt and more if needed.
- Finally give a good mix with hand and enjoy it with rice. Sprinkle little more oil if you like, chopped onion and fresh cilantro for garnish.