In Bangladesh begun bhortha is treated as a side dish, which can accompany meals with rice and other curries. Begun Bhortha’s exact translation would be ‘mashed aubergine’, but that does not sound very appealing as it is much more than just a simple mashed vegetable dish! If I had named this mashed aubergine, people would probably think I am referring to baby food!
Begun Bhortha can has many variations including it being made with fish or chicken! I have made this with simple ingredients so the recipe below is my version of this delicious Bengali staple.
1 Large Aubergine
½ Large Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Green Chili Peppers
1 Tsp Cumin Powder
1 Tsp Curry Powder
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
½ Cup Coconut Milk
½ Cup Coriander Leaves
1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (Optional to garnish)
1 Tbsp Fried Onions (Optional to garnish)
Heat Oven to 400 F.
Cut the aubergine in half, place on a greased baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.
When roasted, scoop out the flesh, and discard the skin. Chop the flesh into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Lightly roast the sesame seeds. Set aside.
Chop up the onions, and sauté them in a little oil.
Mince the garlic and the green chili peppers.
As the onions brown add the minced garlic and chili peppers. Sauté for a further few minutes, or until the raw smell of the garlic disappears.
Add the aubergine along with the cumin and curry powder. Stir and mix the spices for at least 5 minutes, or until thoroughly blended.
Next add the coconut milk. Cook till the aubergine completely absorbs the milk.
In a blender add all the cooked aubergine along with the mustard oil and coriander leaves. Pulse on low, a couple of times.
Place the begun bhortha on a bowl and mix in the sesame seeds.
Garnish with red pepper flakes and fried onions. Serve with rice.
Please note that begun bhortha tastes best at room temperature. So you can just cover and set aside, and don’t have to warm it up before serving.
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