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
- 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