Begun Basanti

Basanti, derived from Sanskrit, literally can mean two things — one, related to Basanta or the Spring Season; and two, a light yellow colour. Two very quintessentially Bengali dishes have been named Basanti. One is the yellow sweetish pulao; and the other is this brinjal preparation cooked in again a very Bengali sauce — based on mustard and poppy seeds. Originally I reckon only mustard seed paste was used for the gravy. However, later to tame the pungency perhaps the custom of adding poppy seeds paste was introduced. I use mustard and poppy seeds in nearly equal ratio to make my paste for Begun Basanti.



  • One large Brinjal
  • Mustard seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder
  • Bengali 5 spice/ Panch Phoran
  • Green chilies
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Mustard Oil


  • Slice the brinjals lengthwise to make 4-5 long slices
  • Apply turmeric, salt and sugar and lightly fry it. Place them in the serving dish
    Make a paste of poppy seeds, mustard seeds, green chilies and salt.
  • Now heat oil in a pan and temper it with a little pinch of panch phoron, followed by green chilies and a paste of turmeric and chili powder. Keep stirring till oil separates
  • Now pour the poppy and mustard paste
  • Follow it by salt and sugar to taste and little water. Bring it to a boil.
  • When thickened, put some mustard oil into the mixture
  • Now pour the sauce over the brinjal slices in the dish (This is to prevent the brinjal pieces to degenerate for they become very soft after frying)
  • Garnish it with fresh coriander and/or green chillies and serve


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