Some call it the melancholy fruit, some call it without any “gun” (talent). I call it Begun, Bengali for Eggplant or Aubergine or Brinjal.
All around the world this talentless eggplant is cooked in many ways- batter-fried, crescents fried in oil called begun bhaja, roasted, broiled or boiled and mashed. Making it one of the most congenial “fruits”, probably second only to the potato.
Come winter, India is flooded with plump, dark purple eggplants. In some parts of the country, the large, round variety of eggplants are also called Bhanta.
Ingredients for Bengali Begun Pora are:
1 eggplant, slit lengthwise, make sure you keep its stem on
Handful of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, slivered finely
Few green chilies, broken from the middle
Generous drizzle of mustard oil
After about 20 minutes (or half an hour depending on the size of the eggplant), when the skin is completely charred, remove the eggplant from the flame. Allow the eggplant to cool, then discard the skin. Mash the eggplant with the back of a fork or use your hands.