Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Begun Chirer Pulao -- Brinjal n Poha Pulao

I really don't love eggplants all that much. I like okra way better than eggplant. But you wouldn't know that. I have only one single okra post in all these years and several eggplant ones. In fact the frequency with which I am posting eggplant dishes you would think that is all we eat at home. But that is as far removed from the truth as is the earth from the moon or as is me from reality.

The reality is we do eat eggplants more than okra, for one it is easier to chop and cook and does well in mass production and everyone adores it. But not me or BS. I do not love eggplant more than okra. BS does not love anything but her little sis.

But this dish, the "Begun Chirer Pulao" is different. It is a very new thing, which I have never heard or had before. My Ma with her genius and her repertoire made this some weeks back. She says she got it from a book. Whoever was invited for lunch that day "oohed" and "aaahed" over it. The husband liked it a lot. In short this dish got so much recognition that every thing else paled in comparison. Now these are words I can rarely say about 90% of the other recipes I have posted in all these years.

So you see this is important. For one it is a very novel dish and Bengalis love novelty as long as it is not octopus in tamarind sauce. They love trying out new dishes if it is Bengali, Indo-Chinese, Thai, and maybe Moroccan, ok not Moroccan but might be. So because of the newness and the ease of cooking and the taste this dish is a big winner. I made it again over the weekend for some friends. Everyone suitably "oohed" and "aahed", and acted surprised, because who would have thought of cooking eggplant/brinjal with poha, really.


Begun Chirer Pulao -- Brinjal n Poha Pulao

Suggested Oil: Mustard Oil. If Not: Canola or Peanut Oil Never: Olive Oil

Serves 5-6 adults as a side dish

Chop 2 medium sized eggplants in thick slices. Soak in water with little salt for half an hour OR if you are running out of time just wash them well. Remove from water and sprinkle turmeric powder and salt on the slices and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil and deep fry the eggplant slices. They should be almost like 99.5% cooked at the end of this and taste totally yum with some dal and rice. But NO you cannot eat them because the universe is waiting for your Begun Pulao and you must give them that.

Now take 1 cup of Poha (or Beaten Rice) and fry them crisp in oil. IF you are not my Mom and you are like me and you like to pretend that you do not like deep frying toss the 1 cup of Poha with droplets of oil and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray. Put in the oven at 350F till the poha turns crisp.

Heat some more oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Temper the oil with
1/4 tsp of Hing/Asafoetidia,
2-3 small Bay Leaves
and 5-6 small green Indian chili
that have been slit.

While the oil heats, in a bowl add 1/2 cup of thick yogurt and beat. To it add
2 tsp of ginger paste,
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri mirch,
1/2 tsp of Red Chili powder(optional),
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder,
a little sugar
and mix well.

Switch off the heat and wait for a minute. Add the yogurt to the pan and mix. Put it back on low heat after one more minute. When you see the oil seeping out of the side of the masala add about 1 cup of water. Add salt to taste and let the gravy come to a boil. Add the fried eggplants and mix gently so that the eggplants are well coated with the masala. Let it simmer till the gravy is thickened. Note: If you have a fear of yogurt curdling add a tsp of besan or gram flour to the yogurt and mix well so that there are no lumps. Now add everything else to the yogurt and add it to the pan

Add the fried/roasted crisp Poha and mix with the eggplants.

Sprinkle 1 tsp of Garam Masala powder on top and serve. Goes well with Rice or Roti. Tastes best when served in a couple of hours time or at least same day.


  1. never heard of this before ... have to try ... must say does not appeal to my imagination as yet ... but will come back and tell you how it went.

    thanks for consistently putting up great recipes.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Adding Poha with Eggplant is unique indeed, somewhat like Vangibhath with rice but Bengali ishtyle! :D

    Looks yum. I love Okra too but have to deal with frozen pack here.

    Atleast big S loves her little S, be very glad and count your blessings! I have seen some sisters fight as kids and as adults like stray dogs, don't want that! OYY!!!
    My kids are very close too fortunately, they share more with each other than with me. Nice to see that. My brother(4yrs younger to me but always bigger and stronger than me) and I fought a lot as children with my parents supporting him all the time, not a good feeling at all.

    I just started typing for tomorrow's post, got to finish. See ya! :)

  4. This sounds new to me. Nice recipe. Looks so good. YUM!

  5. I am obligingly oohing and aahing as well- that looks fantastic!

  6. Actually, there is a Maharashtrian dish called Vangi(eggplant) pohe.
    It's not so popular as the kanda(onion) pohe or the batata(potato) pohe, for the obvious reasons!

  7. Sounds super yummy, very new for me, love the pic.

  8. Sandeepa, you're my new hero. I never met a brinjal I didn't love; it could only be better with poha. Two questions if I may:

    1. thick poha?

    2. mustard oil -- is any particular brand better than another? every brand here seems to say 'not for consumption' but I think that is due to some odd USDA regulation.

    I sense BB#4 part 2 in this recipe. The carrot soup was awesome :)

  9. Have been following your Blog for a while. Love your recipes, they bring back a lot of memories =). I have a vague recollection of something sweet called "taaler bora", do you know what that is?

  10. bongmom, ejinisti sotyi i novel. ar bangalider apni sotyi-i haaRe haaRe chinechhen. daruN lekha.

  11. Loved this variation, Poha + Eggplant !

    Btw I've have made this universal observation = "People who like Okra don't prefer eggplant and vice versa ! "

    Ask around it is true ;)

  12. So this is a polao to go with rice and roti - that is unusual, and the dish itself is unusual. Don't you Bengalis make something with fish head and beaten rice? I seem to have seen it in a Bengali cookbook. Maybe this is the veggie version someone came up with :)

    Isn't there some link between eggplant and how Bengal got its name?

  13. Hi Sandeepa,

    This is a very well-loved recipe in our family repertoire - I believe my Mom learnt it from my Grandma. And you are correct, everyone who has tasted it really like it.

    We make it slightly different though - no asfoetida and yogurt. Also, the chire is not fried, but just washed very briefly before adding it to the begun - can be slightly tricky since keeping it wet for too long can make the whole thing too lumpy!

    I will try out your version as well!


  14. I have a small pack of phoa which i bought from the Indian store, but still it is unopened ;-)
    Well if you give me both the vegg at the same time i would go for Binjal as Okra i don't like, just in sambar.We were with three girls,and we did fight a lot for grabbing each others things ;-) but i think that is sibilings, but we are very close even if we are living in differetn continenets.

  15. Sarbori

    ha , h :-) One more thing is, this needs to be had fresh, does not stand the test of time very well


    yeah, vangibhath, how come I have never had Vangibhath, though have heard so much about it

    Thanks :)



    Thanks, that might be the original source for this dish. But batata or kanda poha is a dish by itself. This one I need to have it with dal, rice etc. as a side dish, never a meal on its own




    1. Thick Poha - no washing
    2. Mustard Oil -- dabur brand is good


    Same here, vague recollection of taler bora, can't remember if I loved it at all. Will ask my Mom and let you know



    really ? That's interesting


    It is called Pulao but the amount of poha is much less compared to the eggplant, making it a side dish.
    We make a fish head with rice dish called Muri Ghonto, is in my blog


    What is your version ?

  16. thnks fr this,..looks like a comfort meal,.

  17. I do not like eggplant or okra. He likes both. Guess how frequently it gets made? Depends on the mood of the cook. :)

    Anon said it is a Maharashtrian dish but I have never heard of it, probably because I don't like eggplant or maybe because we lived in MP most of our lives. But I am pretty sure he is gonna love it.

  18. Sandeepa,
    I am speechless about this combo, eggplant and chirey very new to me.
    This looks so delicious , would love to have it with garam bhat.Can we add some fried fish/fish head pieces to make it amish ,if it's possible.
    I was reading the comments, read about tal'er bora..onek din hoye kheyechi..taal ki paba jaye Bideshe na bodhaye..the extraction of the Tal sap is very lengthy and cumbersome process , but when they turn out tal'er bora there is nothing similar like that in earth :)..
    hugs and smiles

  19. Hehe,I hate sweets but have many sweet posts :) I love brinjal in any form, baked, cooked even undercooked! Very different side dish with poha!

  20. Try adding a little bit(may be 1tsp for 10 peices of fish)of shorshe bata in the jhol, it tastes even better.

  21. This recipe will be a challenge,poha and eggplant? But judging from all your previous recipes it will be great.So am going to try it out.

  22. Never tasted brinjal with poha before and I am seeing poha and pulao together for the first time. If it is mom's recipe, then it must be good.

  23. I do not like poha except when it is deep fried. :p
    But I do make chirer polao for the hubby with potatoes ... will try this recipe on him. No washing ... hmm ... so it soaks up the masala ... bhaloi lagbe. Try korbo. :-)

  24. I might be sailing in the same boat Sandeepa. I think I like okra better than eggplant but I eat so much eggplant and occasionally an okra or two that I am confused about my preference.

    This eggplant dish is a sure fire winner. Poha & eggplant that sure caught my attention

  25. Never heard abt this dish before' looks interesting, must be great tasting one too:)

  26. bengalimominmumbaiJune 01, 2011 11:24 PM

    This is new...I'll defintely try it out..Is this something similar to chaal diye fulkopi ?


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