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