Neem Begun Bhaja – fried brinjal with a sprinkling of tender neem leaves. A typical Bengali lunch menu starts with something bitter – either Karela fry or Neem Pata Begun Bhaja (neem leaves and brinjal). Neem Pata (leaves) fry with eggplant is a simple and tasty Bengali recipe. The sweetness of brinjal combined with the bitterness of neem makes for an interesting combo.
Neem has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Neem contains chemicals which kill bacteria, help control blood sugar levels, heal stomach ulcers, and check plaque formation in the mouth.
Neem Begun Bhaja Recipe:
This delicious brinjal and neem leaves recipe is both healthy and appetising.
Bengalis typically start their meals with something Teto (bitter). Neem Begun Bhaja is a dry preparation where brinjal pieces are fried brown, sprinkled with crispy fried neem leaves and taken as the first course.
It is mixed with rice along with a dollop of ghee. It is believed eating something bitter at the start of a meal, cleanses the body of impurities.
How to make Bengali neem begun bhaja:
1. To make Neem Pata Begun Bengali style, wash the neem leaves well, pick and keep aside.
2. Wash and cut the eggplants into cubes. Mix in salt and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan. Put in the brinjal pieces and fry to a nice brown.
4. Remove fried begun and keep aside.
5. Fry the neem leaves in the same oil until crisp.
6. Remove neem pata with a slotted spoon onto a plate.
7. Mix the fried brinjal pieces and fried neem leaves together.
8. Serve Neem Begun Bhaja with hot rice and ghee.
Neem Pata Begun Recipe details:
- Brinjal – 1 small or ½ medium
- Neem <a class="zem_slink" title="Azadirachta indica" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azadirachta_indica" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia" data-mce-href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azadirachta_indica">Margosa</a> leaves – 1 bunch
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 3tbsp
Wash and pick neem leaves.
Wash and cut brinjal into small cubes. Add salt and mix well.
Heat oil in a kadai/pan. Fry the brinjals to a brown colour. Drain and remove.
In the same oil add neem leaves and fry till crisp and dry. Drain and remove.
Mix the neem leaves with begun.
Serve Neem Begun Bhaja with hot rice and ghee. It is usually had as the first course along with a dollop of ghee.
* Fry the brinjal pieces first and then the neem leaves. Otherwise the brinjal pieces will acquire the bitter taste of neem.
* To eat, mix fried eggplant and fried neem leaves with a little rice. The sweetness of brinjal offsets the bitterness of neem leaves.