Friday, June 06, 2014

Beguni -- ar Ashare Goppo

Eggplant coated in a batter of chickpea flour and deep fried

This post was first posted in 2010. It is being reposted.

The rain had started out strong, not meek like other days. Huge blobs of water, hit the warm earth rapidly, with an urgency to quench out its parched dryness. The rain was now hitting down hard on her window, with that drumming sound, she loved about rains.

Outside the windows, the world seemed painted by Monet. She could hardly make out anything, even the Krishnachura by Bubai's house with all its red flowers was barely discernible. She sighed and returned to the open pages of the Resnick-Halliday, trying to figure out the resonant frequency of some stupid string of length L while the rain drummed on merrily on her windows.

"I will put these up for drying in your room", Ma said, a pile of still wet clothes on her arm, droplets of water clinging on to her jet black strands. Not waiting for a response, Ma started putting up a makeshift clothes line, right above her study desk. As the fan whirred slowly trying to dry out the clothes she sat beneath Dada's dancing pajama legs still trying to figure out the string.

She could hear Ma in the kitchen now, the pots clinging, the whoosh of water down the sink. And then she could feel the sharp smell of Mustard up her nostrils. The hot oil now hissed as something hit and then there was the familiar sound of "chyank-chok", repetitive it went, the same rhythm, a "chyank" followed by a "chonk". Ma was making Beguni, brinjal slices dipped in a chickpea flour batter and fried crisp. There would be Khichuri and Beguni for lunch, a rainy day staple. She hated brinjal and didn't care much for a Khichuri. But Ma would make an omlette for her, even one for Dada, she knew and smiled to herself.

"PING"!! The sound startled her.

She looked up and outside the huge glass window, the rain had trickled down to a drizzle now. The lights on the Empire State building glowed against the gray slated sky.
She looked back at her computer. Her husband was on the IM.

He wrote, " So shall I get some eggplants? what about Beguni and Khichuri tonight ?"

Smiling she gathered her laptop and her belongings. She didn't want to miss the 6:15 subway home.


This is my first attempt at Food Fiction inspired by the fantastic tales of Kalyan@Finely Chopped. I often write about the past in my posts. The past is not perfect, the present more not so. While I write my regular posts, I stick to the reality, the truth, I don't transcend the fine line from reality to fiction. But this category of Food Fiction, lets me mingle my memories with bits of imagination, so the emotions and the nostalgia is still there but also there is a little bit of the author's creative mind in play.

*Ashare Goppo == Monsoon Tales.Depending on its usage it also means "made up tales"

Beguni or eggplant slices dipped in a chickpea flour batter and then deep fried is a long time Bengali favorite. Actually anything deep fried is a popular Bengali or for that matter popular Indian snack. With Bongs, the thing is they adore their eggplants and so not being satisfied by Begun Bhaja alone they go a step ahead to make Beguni.

The Beguni is a popular side kick to the Khichuri on rainy days and that is how we had it last week amidst pouring rain. If it is a high-dry day and no one wants Khichuri, Beguni is still very much welcome as an evening snack with muri aka Puffed Rice or as one of the fried veggies accompanying Dal for Lunch.


Beguni -- Batter coated eggplant fritters

Makes about 20 small begunis

What You Need

Eggplant ~ Eggplant chopped in thin rounds or semi circles. Depending on the kind of eggplant you are using, chop about 20-25 mini rounds and semicircles

Chickpea Flour/Besan ~ 1 cup
Water ~ 3/4 cup
Baking Powder ~ 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
Rice Flour ~ 1 tbsp
Salt ~ to taste

Chaat masala -- for sprinkling on the fritters(optional)

Oil ~ for deep Frying

Update: As one of the readers said, instead of Rice Flour you can also add 1-2 tsp of poppy seeds to the batter for a crunch. Also a little Kalonji/Nigella seeds in the batter may be added for an alternate version.

How I Did It

Wash the eggplant well and chop in thin rounds or semi circle. Smear with turmeric and salt and keep aside for 10 -15 mins

Make a batter of chickpea flour with all the ingredients listed under batter. Add water gradually to make a batter as thick as a Pakoda batter.

Heat Oil for deep frying in a Kadhai

Dip the eggplant slices in the chickpea flour batter so that it is uniformly coated and then gently slide into the hot oil. Fry till golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Sprinkle some Chaat Masala on the Beguni for that additional zing.

Similar Recipes:

Alur Chop ar Muri -- also has a khichuri recipe in there


  1. I so wish i could write like you. I always enjoy reading your post, it is like reading a very intresting shorty story. Never deep fried aubergine. Looks delicous, ofcours eit would as it is deep fried :-)

  2. I admire ur creativity behind the tale!
    As the winter is over here no more rain and deep fried food :) Eggplant "Bajji" a popular steet snack, it is almost buttery and melt in ur mouth!

  3. Really enjoyed the read. Hugs!

  4. enjoyed reading you story! Never tried eggplant fritters... beautiful clicks and wish I could grab one fitter from the picture!

  5. the beguni looks yummy- though i think I like begun bhaja better- I am going to try your recipe for that sometime this week.

    The story is lovely! I love doing this too- mixing bits of reality and fiction with a lot of food thrown in (offline, though)..

    aah- resnick halliday and rainy days- you do know how to stir up memories, Sandeepa!..:)

  6. Ja gorom poreche ekhane Sandeepa ... tomar brishtir lekha pore mone holo baire brishti hocche. Am a beguni fan too ... but am a bigger fan of your writing. :-)

  7. durdanto golpo. aar beguni best........vegetable chop-er theke at least hajarguN bhalo khete.

  8. love love love your attempt at food fiction Sandeepa. Please keep them coming, a side of chai and your beguni will seal the deal, rain or not :)

  9. Hey thanks for the plug. Enchanted :)

    Loved the story. Who could have thought that beguni, the accompaniment for many an adda, could make the subject of a story too.

    Loved the way you connected the present with the past at the end. Reminded me of Chitrita Banerjee's fictional chapters in Seasons of Bengal. Which I hugely admire.

    Resnick and Halliday!!!! Damn!!! I think i once got 11 out of 50, or was it 100, in Mechanical Physics in Plus Two

  10. Sandeepa,

    I thought I was seeing a beautiful painting live thro your words..write a novel ,you have all the talent and creativity that binds the reader with the content...and Beguni ke mana korbe brishti porle n even if it doesn't rain ..lovely post ..superb job!
    hugs and smiles

  11. ish dekhei barir kotha mone pore galo....aar tomar clicks gulo dekhe college days er kotha....rasstar dhare dariye beguni,aloor chop khaoar mojai alada chhilo....

  12. Dear sandeepa
    Thoroughly enjoyed the wrting and the beguni too.
    Try 2 tsp rice flour in the batter, you may like it
    Bhalo theko

  13. Sandeepa, those are beautiful words. A writing career in the future perhaps?

    AS for the beguni that is one thing I have not tried with eggplants.

  14. Besides the beguni , i am spellbound Sandeepa.. I could see the huge drops beat the window with a smear of the red krishnachura myself.. as if I was sitting there. Keep these coming more often. I am going to keep coming back to read this again and again.

  15. that was a nice chaining from the tale's rain to the ideal snack for the rainy days...

    I love these bhajjis too, they 're my all time favourite, whether it is raining or not, I can eat these any time :)

  16. I enjoyed reading that... I will look forward to more! Eggplants look yummy :)

  17. Sandeepa, this post is poetry.

    I am so mesmerized by your story and its uncanny similarity with my own memories from childhood. Khichuri, begun bhaja, dimer omelette, ektu aachar, aar papod bhaja.

    Your pictures are lovely!

    P.S. My Mum sprinkles some poppy seeds/ posto in the besan batter. It just adds so much crunch to the beguni.

  18. Hey Sandeepa! This post was nice! :) As it is your posts are so engaging. Look forward to more snippet-tales too in future!

  19. nice presentation dear ..
    Looks delicious .. hey iam hosting a giveaway if ur intrested pls stop by at my blog if u get a chance .

  20. Even I am not a great fan of eggplant bajji to be honest the bajji kinds. But I love your story and u're such a vivid writer and you bring the picture right before my eyes Sandeepa! Rains are faraway in my part of the world but I can give a try as the rest of the crowd at home loves bajji alltime ;)

  21. That's so exactly the way I'd write (though somehow I don't put my best writings on the blog!)Thankfully it's not raining here today but I do want to have kichdi and beguni fried, tho I hate brinjal but fried anything is perfectly acceptable!

  22. I always enjoy reading your post.

  23. Thanks Everyone for the lovely words


    I don't know why, you were in the back of my mind when I wrote this, you are in NY, right ?
    And yes, mu Ma adds posto too


    I did say 1 tbsp of Rice flour

  24. Long time silent reader.
    Loved your asahre goppo!
    and the tip to use posto in the Batter - will try it next time I make beguni for sure.

  25. Sandeepa - Outstanding job. If this is your first attempt at writing fiction, then it was just awesome. No one would know that if you have not mentioned explicitly.

    Also, I made malpua with mouri in the batter this time. You were right, it tastes all the same.

  26. Felt I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri's Namesake. The style is very much like hers if you know what I mean.

  27. LOL, I have to tell my husband this, that I was at the back of your mind somewhere during this post.

    He thinks I stalk you! :-)

    No, I am not in NY (my husband lived there some years ago). We now live in Toronto, Canada.

  28. Enjoyed reading the story so much!
    Felt so nice to read snippets from our younger days weaved into such lovely fiction.As for the beguni,I don't even wait for the rains:)Your beguni looks perfect!

  29. Hi Sandeepa,

    I loved reading your food fiction..Your story and pictures made me nostalgic...

    I love beguni as well as begun bhaja..

    Great job.. keep it up.

  30. :) I love the itch which has started in K's blog - may it not be restricted to the Bong bloggers ;)

    Funnily enough, we have started having beguni bhaja with our khichdi too - courtesy my Bong friend in Delhi and her traditions which we have seamlessly adapted. Just as her two kids now eat beetroot porial on a regular basis after liking it at our place!

  31. @Miri: your Kolhapur travelogue was inspirational too :)


  33. A Wonderful idea-Food Fiction. So many memories that are related to food, that come flooding back to mind almost always. To pen them down into a tale sounds very good.
    I enjoyed going through your story. Keep them coming. And those fried brinjals also look too deelish.

  34. Khhob bhalo, aieta aamar prothom visit. Nice collection.

  35. Nice and simple..
    Like it very much..

    How can I keep beguni crispy long time?

  36. i love the photos in ur blog,, beguni is my favourite and your recipe is amazing.. i m making it this weekend..


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