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 a little nontraditional 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.
Why you will love this Doi Begun?
Unlike the traditional way, eggplant is not deep fried in this recipe.
The dish takes some prep time to let the moisture release from the eggplant by drizzling salt. But apart from that, it will take roughly 15 minutes to bring together.
It is a great summer dish as it is light on the tummy.
I didn't grow up eating doi begun that often. Also, I doubt Ma made it that much or at all. I learned to make this dish from my neighbor several years back when we had moved to India for a couple of 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)
- Eggplant - Preferably use the large size eggplant as you can slice it thick, and the large eggplants often don't come with a lot of seeds in it.
- Thick plain yogurt - I like to use thick yogurt, as I love the creamy texture it adds to the dish. If you don't have thick yogurt, just hung it in a cheese cloth or any clean cloth for a while.
- Spices - Cumin seeds and mustard seeds are the two whole spices used and apart from that there is turmeric powder, cumin powder and chili powder used required.
- Fresh curry leaves - Fresh curry leaves are used when tempering the oil. It is for flavor only, and if you can't find any, you can discard.
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 affect the taste of the entire dish.
Steps to prepare
- Slice the eggplant slightly thick. I prefer to use big eggplants as it is easy to slice and also doesn't have a lot of seeds in it.
- Layer the sliced eggplant on a cookie wire rack or a colander and drizzle salt in it. Leave aside for 15 minutes. It helps to release the moisture and that way you can fry the eggplant is very less oil.
3. In a heavy bottom skillet at medium heat, drizzle a little oil. While it heats up, oat dry the excess moisture from the eggplant and drizzle turmeric powder. Fry for a few minutes on each side.
4. Make the yogurt mixture by whisking the yogurt with cumin powder, chili powder, salt and sugar.
5. In a heavy bottom pan, add oil to prepare the tempered oil. Once it heats up, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and chili powder. Let it sizzle for a few seconds. Be careful as you follow this step, cause the curry leaves will splatter.
6. Drizzle most of the tempered oil on the whisk yogurt and mix the yogurt. Save the rest of the tempered oil to be added later
7. In a serving plate, layer some of the spiced yogurt, then layer the fried eggplant and repeat the process.
8. Finally, add the remaining tempered oil on top.
I sometime also add a couple green chili in the tempered oil, and it will add a subtle heat to the 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 keynote 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.
Here are few eggplant recipes you will love
Doi Begun (Eggplant In Spiced Yogurt)
for spiced yogurt
- ½ cup Greek yogurt/hung yogurt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Roasted and coarsely ground )
For Tempered Oil
- 1 tablespoon tablepsoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- few fresh curry leaves
- ¼ teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
- Layer the sliced eggplant in a colander and sprinkle the salt. Give a massage and leave it aside for 15 minutes.
- After 15 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour most of the tempered oil on the whisked yogurt and mix it around.
- In a serving platter, add half the yogurt, then layer the fried eggplant. Then spread more yogurt and remaining eggplant. Drizzle with the remaining tempered oil.
- Serve it warm or room temperature.