Friday, November 9, 2012

Begun Pora of Bengal / Brinjal Chokha of Bihar & Jharkhand / Eggplant Mishmash for the rest

Begun Pora literally translates to ‘Burnt Eggplant’! Well no it is not really burnt, it is roasted! One of the handful Vegetarian dishes which I did not criticize as a kid, this is to be eaten with Ruti / Roti /Chapati and this will taste like mouthfuls of ecstasy!

My Mum is tremendously religious about not preparing this on any of our Jonmo-baar’s (birth days – not the dates but the days - Mon-Sun that is). Almost certainly the reason behind this bizarre superstitious belief is Hindu’s burn their dead; ‘but this is not burning this is plain unadulterated Roasting’ I argued with Mum..but an argument on something as sensitive as this is like thumping your cranium against a fence, Mothers always win these, always! Hence after bearing in mind all my immediate family members birth-days, I have only Thursday and Saturday when I can prepare this without any kind of uncertainty in my spirit. Unsure whether the generation next will be able to taste this or not with their days added to the inventory as well :P

Sometime back when I posted Aloo Chokha recipe on the Indian Food Bloggers Network, AW asked me if I knew how to make Brinjal Chokha, (I had never heard of it honestly) I replied .. ‘I have a couple of friends from Bihar, I can arrange this for sure’! Since then I asked my colleagues from Jharkhand and Bihar about this dish, both of them were kind enough to validate with their better-halves and share the recipe with me. A big Thank you to both of you SP & AA :D This is when I realized that it is the exact same recipe as our very own ‘Begun Pora’. The only thin line of demarcation between Bengal and Bihar (Bihar & Jharkhand) is in Brinjal Chokha, you add minced Garlic, in Begun Pora, you don’t.

AA told me strictly that this should be prepared with an Eggplant which should look like this:

But Alas! I already had my big Eggplant sitting at home, hence I made it with this:

Next time I sure will look for a more roundish ‘real Baingan’ as AA mentioned.

Here is what you will need to make Begun Pora / Brinjal Chokha:

1.   1 Eggplant
2.   1 Medium Red Onion – sliced
3.   Peas – a handful (optional)
4.   Green Chillies – as much as your taste buds can tolerate – I used about 5 – broken
5.   Some fresh Coriander leaves - chopped
6.   Garlic – 3-4 medium cloves – minced fine (for Brinjal Chokha)

7.   Mustard Oil – a generous dash (Cannot replace with any other cooking oil, as this goes in raw and one will never get the kick if any other oil is used instead)
8.   Salt to taste

Steps to prepare Begun Pora / Brinjal Chokha:

·         Bathe the Eggplant clean.
·         Make incisions on it like shown in the picture.

·         Roast it on the Gas stove.

·         Keep turning, it takes roughly about 15-20 minutes on high.

·         The skin of the Eggplant will get charred completely.
·         Take off the flame and let it cool down.

·         Take off the skin and smash with your hand.

·         Add the sliced Onions, broken Green Chillies, minced Garlic, Peas, chopped Coriander leaves, Mustard Oil and Salt to taste and mix thoroughly (Note: all ingredients go in raw in this dish, if you try frying/sautéing and/or adding any other spices, the real taste of this dish will be destroyed – they have to be added RAW)

·         Dish up with affectionate Rutis / Rotis / Chapatis :D

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