Begun Doi Sorse Posto bata Jhol or Eggplant in Mustard Poppy Seed Yogurt Gravy is a pure vegetarian dish. The eggplant is the star of this dish,flavored by the mustard poppy seed paste, tempered with Bengali five spices known as panch phoron, and cooked in yogurt stock.
Poppy seeds or khus khus are deceptively innocuous but when toasted, ground or blended with other ingredients like mustard, they add an intriguing flavor and texture dimension to food. They can be used as toppings for bread and cakes to give a mild crunch. When used in Indian cooking, they add creaminess to the curries. Because of its intense flavor, there are very few cuisines that use the poppy seed unlike the Bengali cuisine where it can also be used as the key ingredient in dishes such as zinghe posto( dry preparation of ridge gourd with poppy seed paste), posto bora( fritters from ground poppy seed), posto bata mache jhol(fish in poppy seed paste curry) or a thick paste of posto, drizzled with mustard oil and spiked with green chilies to be eaten with plain rice.
Traditionally, the masala for this Begun Doi Sorse Posto bata Jhol curry is prepared by grinding poppy seeds and mustard seeds along with the green chilies.This curry is prepared in mustard oil as this is the preferred medium of cooking in Bengali cuisine. A very important spice which is mostly used in all the recipe is “Panch Phoron” which means 5 spices including fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds,fennel seeds, nigella and mustard seeds. It gives a specific flavor which gives a signature Bengali taste.
- 1 medium brinjal or eggplant
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder ( cayenne or paprika)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp white poppyseed
- 1.5 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp mustard oil + to shallow fry
- For panch phoron :
- ¼ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp nigella seeds or kalonji
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 4 fenugreek seeds
- 4 green chilies
- ½ cup yogurt
- Soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in little amount of water for about 10 minutes.
- Drain and add the soaked mustard and poppy seeds in a mixer, along with the green chilies. Add about quarter cup water and grind it into a smooth paste. Keep the mustard poppy seed paste aside.
- Wash the eggplant and cut it into rounds of around ½ inch thickness. Rub it on both the sides with half of turmeric, red chili powder and salt.
- In a pan, add 1.5 tbsp of oil and when the oil is heated, lower the heat and shallow fry the brinjal rounds, each side 2-3 minutes or till the round is light golden on both the sides.
- Once cooked properly, place the fried brinjal rounds on an absorbent paper.
- Heat one tablespoon mustard oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the panch phoron ( five spices , amount as specified in the ingredients list under panch phoron). Saute at low heat for 4-5 minutes .
- Now add the mustard poppy seed paste, remaining turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Stir and mix on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Whisk the curd and add to the masala. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add half a cup of water. Adjust salt. Bring the curry to a boil on medium heat. Lower the heat and add the fried brinjal rounds. Continue simmering on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice