Sliced eggplant pan fried in very little oil and then layered with spiced yogurt followed by a drizzle of tempered hot oil! Doi Begun is a popular Bengali eggplant curry, except I make it little untraditional way. Typically yogurt will be cooked along with the spices and eggplant. This recipe doesn't call for that which makes it a very quick meal. It's light on the tummy and great on warm days too.
I didn't grow up eating doi begun that often. Also, I doubt Ma made it that much or at all. I learnt making this dish from my neighbor several years back when we had moved to India for couple years. My neighbor, who was also my chatty friend over a cup of tea, once prepared it for me. I loved it and instantly called Mom to find out how come we never ate Doi Begun as a kid? As it turns out, my brother was allergic to eggplant and I never liked the taste of eggplant. Huh!
It never fails to surprise me how our taste buds change over a period of time and age.
Well, I do enjoy eggplant a lot and this version of Doi Begun is a hit in my house. Even my kid loves it.
Ingredients for Doi Begun:
(doi meaning yogurt and begun meaning eggplant)
- Thick plain yogurt
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
- fresh mustard seeds
Finding curry leaves can be a challenge, in that case just replace with fresh cilantro leaves or discard it completely. You can try the dried curry leaves too. It will not effect the taste of the entire dish.
Can you use roast eggplant?
YES! I however don't deep fry the eggplant. It's just pan fried with very little oil. You can choose to roast the eggplant slices too.
When it comes to cooking eggplant, one key note to remember is to massage the eggplant slices with salt and leave it aside for about 30 minutes. This will release moisture and soften the texture and as a result it will not soak a lot of oil when frying.
Doi Begun one of those dishes that you will absolutely love on a sunny day. It's fuss free and so quick to prepare. Allow the fried/roasted eggplant slices to soak up the essence from the spiced yogurt for about 15 minutes. Make sure you use thick Greek yogurt or hung yogurt for the perfect creamy texture.
Serving Doi Begun:
Typically we like it with rice or roti. But I have even served it with quinoa. It will also taste amazing with pita bread.
Doi Begun (Eggplant In Spiced Yogurt)
for spiced yogurt
- Greek yogurt/hung yogurt - ½ cup
- sugar - ½ teaspoon
- salt - ½ teaspoon
- cumin seeds (roasted and coarsely ground - 1 teaspoon)
for tempered oil
- 1 tablepsoon oil
- mustard seeds - ½ teaspoon
- cumin seeds - ½ teaspoon
- few fresh curry leaves
- chili/ paprika powder - ¼ teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Layer the sliced eggplant on a colander and sprinkle the salt. Give a massage and leave it aside for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, the eggplant slices should have released moisture and soften. Sprinkle the turmeric and massage it around.
- Prepare the yogurt sauce by adding the yogurt, salt, sugar and ground cumin. Whisk to mix it all together. Taste for seasoning and add any if needed. Then spread about ⅓ of the yogyrt sauce on a serving platter and keep aside.
- Place a skillet in medium heat and drizzle little oil. Layer the eggplant slices and cook for few minutes, then flip and continue cooking. You might need to drizzle little oil in between. Cook the eggplants until mild brown on each side and cooked through.
- Layer the cooked eggplant slices on the prepared platter.
- Place a small pan on medium high heat and pour the oil for tempering. Once the oil heats up sprinkle the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, let it sizzle for few seconds. Then scatter the fresh curry leaves and let it sizzle for few seconds.
- Switch off the heat and add the paprika/chili powder and mix it around.
- Pour half of the tempered oil to the yogurt sauce and swirl it aorund gently.
- Pour the yogurt sauce on the layered eggplant slices and pour rest of the tempered oil.
- Serve it warm or room temperature.