In the second part of Bengali comfort food, Anumita, our Managing Editor, shares the recipes of Beguni and Aam er Chatni, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
With the comfort food of khichuri, there is a need for its favorite side dishes. Salty Beguni and sweet Chatni make the perfect combination.
All comfort foods have a fried element to it. The Beguni is the fried element in this food combination. A simple fritter made of eggplant and ground Bengal gram with a touch of spices can increase the flovour index of this whole dish, incredibly.
Chatni, on the other hand, is made of mostly raw mangos, but often few dry fruits or other fruits combine to make it a symphony of tarty sweetness to enhance the flovours of the foods.
Bengalis love their Chatni, which is different from the north Indian Chutni. Chatni is essentially sweet, and often has a high viscosity and with lumps of solid fruits. It is also cooked in contrast to the Chutni, which usually seasoned externally.
Here is the recipe for Beguni and Chatni.
1 big eggplant (cut in thin circles or elongated shaped)
1 cup of Bengal Gram Flour (Besan)
1 tsp of onion seeds (kalonji)
1 tsp of caraway seeds (ajwain)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1tsp coriander and cumin seeds powder (dhania jeera)
Mix the gram flour with the spices, salt, and turmeric.
Add 2 tsp of oil.
Pour water little by little and make it into a thick batter.
Dip the slices of eggplant in the batter.
Heat oil in a deep-set pan and fry the fritters till golden brown.
Remove them from oil and let them stand on paper towels till excess oil is drained off.
Aam er Chatni
3 raw mangoes (deseeded and cut into thin slices)
1 tsp panch phoron (five whole spices)
½ tsp turmeric
Pinch of salt
2 dry red chillies
½ tsp of roasted panch phoron powder
Optional: other fruits like pineapple, plum, raisins or peaches can be added.
Heat oil and let the panch phoron and red chilli sputter.
Add the raw mangoes (the other fruits, if you are adding them) and sprinkle the salt, turmeric and add sugar.
Let the whole thing caramelise, reduce heat.
Cook on a low heat.
If you want a little watery consistency, add a little hot water and let it the whole thing cook till a bit sticky.
Sprinkle the roasted panch phoron powder over it and let it cool.
Serve with the hot khichuri and Beguni.
Roast or fry some papad as sides.
Enjoy a delicious meal of all flavours.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Photos by the author
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Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two sons.