Monday, 24 June 2019
Doi Begun Recipe / Bengali Style Aubergines / Egg Plants In Yogurt Sauce ~ My Bong Konnection
Doi Begun (pronounced Do~ee Bay~goon) is the Bengali way of expressing the love affair between Begun or Aubergines or Egg Plants with Doi or Yogurt. This dish has seen multitudes of festivities in both the Chowdhury (My Paternal Side of the family) and Dutta Gupta (My Maternal Side of the family) families. Having journeyed through generations, the Doi Begun has etched a mark of decadency in my family's refined culinary appetite. Creating Doi Begun therefore for me is a true pleasure, a sort of food nirvana. Not only do my fingers dance through the Bhaja Moshla , the sapphire kissed turmeric powder and the crimson tinted red chilli powder to the music from the foot tapping mustard in the nearby frying pan, but also my mind traverses to those many meals where amidst laughter and chatter the Doi Begun was served to the family.
This is a simple dish but I have never deviated from the process that I learnt from my mother while making this dish. This brings me to a very interesting discussion which was brought to the forefront by a group of Blogger friends on Instagram when they came up with the hash tag It's Process Over Product. For me the process which leads to the finale or product or dish in my case is of utmost importance. My cooking mainly comprises heirloom, traditional recipes and till date I have never adopted a shortcut to arrive at the final product. If the process required me to go through gruelling tedious steps, I did. For example whenever I make the Iconic Dal Bukhara I simmer the lentils all night in low flame and have never cooked it in any other way. The original process says the Lentils have to be simmered in a particular temperature for at least 10 ~ 12 hours, so that's it, I have followed this process every single time.
This is not very practical in today's fast pace world, but for me the process is very important and I will only make Dal Bukhara when I can spare that much time. Compromising over a process no matter how long, intricate or trying it might be is not my approach to cooking. For me my kitchen is my alter and spending time in the kitchen is rejuvenating for me. So I go through each and every steps of the process patiently, with love and attention, never adopting any short cuts to arrive at the final product. Having said this there are days when professional and personal commitments do cut short my time in the kitchen. I plan in advance meticulously for those days and keep everything in hand so that I do not lose time following the original process.
For example in Doi Begun my family recipe calls for homemade Bhaja Moshla I have to ensure that I have a bottle of homemade Bhaja Moshla so that I can save on that extra time pounding away to make this. I do completely agree that following the process to the T every single day to make elaborate process dishes is not possible. That's why I would never approach such a dish if time is a constraint. There are multiple traditional dishes which can be fired up in a jiffy. I stick to these on weekdays and go to the time taking ones on weekends. To sum it up for me I become restless if I adopt shortcut processes to arrive to the final product. I haven't cooked in any other way and plan to continue like this.
Lets now have a look at the ingredients and process to make Doi Begun
Author ~ Piyali Sekhar Mutha
Serves ~ 4
Cuisine ~ Bengali / Indian
Type ~ Curry / Main Course Dish
Time ~ 15 minutes preparation and assembling + 15 minutes cooking
2 Large Begun / Baingan / Aubergines / Egg plants, cut into roundels of approximately 1 inch thickness. You should have around 16 roundels of 1 inch thickness.
1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Salt
500 Ml Oil for frying the Begun
For the Yogurt Sauce
1 Cup (250 Gms) Doi / Dahi / Yogurt /Curd
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Bhaja Moshla (<-- Click on Bhaja Moshla for the recipe)
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
5 ~ 6 Dry Red Chillies
1 Sprig Curry Leaves
1 Tbsp Bhaja Moshla to sprinkle on top while assembling
To Fry the Begun ~
* Wash the Begun thoroughly. Cut the Begun into roundels having thickness of approximately 1 inch. Transfer to a large bowl.
* Sprinkle salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder over the Begun in the bowl. Rub the spices and salt nicely coating each roundel of begun with it.
Note ~ Do not cut the Begun in advance. Only cut them when you are ready to fry. leaving the begun for long time will make them limp, which is not desirable.
* Before starting the process of cutting the Begun pour the oil in a wok / kadai / frying pan and let it become hot. Now slowly and carefully drop a Begun into the hot oil.
Note ~ You can also place a roundel of Begun on a perforated spoon and place the spoon into the hot oil, allowing the Begun to swim into it. This way you protect yourself from any hot oil splashing onto your hands.
* Fry the Begun till golden on both sides. Remove onto a paper kitchen towel and let it soak the excess oil.
For the Doi / Yogurt Sauce ~
* Take the Doi in a large bowl. Using a for or whisk, whisk it to a smooth flowy consistency.
* Add sugar, salt, Bhaja Moshla. Using a spoon mix everything nicely. Keep aside.
For the Tempering ~
* In a tempering pan / small frying pan add oil. When hot add the red chillies, mustard. When the mustard cradles, add curry leaves and fry for 15 seconds. Remove from flame and keep aside.
Assembling Doi Begun ~
* Now that all the elements of this dish is ready, take the serving dish and place all the fried Begun roundels on it.
* Pour the tempering into the yogurt and mix it gently.
* Pour this yogurt over the Begun on your serving plate.
* Finally sprinkle Bhaja Moshla over the dish. Doi Begun is ready to serve.
Note ~ Do not heat the left over Doi Begun or microwave it when you serve it the next day. Either serve it cold or place the bowl in a steamer or use the double boiler technique that you use to melt chocolate to warm it up, else the yogurt will curdle which is not desirable.
Doi Begun is generally served with Luchi / Deep fried Puffed Indian breads OR Porota / Griddle fried Indian Bread OR any bread of your choice. It is a simple dish to make but tastes like a million dollars. You will love this dish. Make it and you will be glad that you got hold of this decadent Bengali Dish.