2-3 large sized potatoes ¼ tsp. turmeric powder ¼ tsp. panch phoron ¼ tsp. red chili powder (optional) 1-2 dry red chillies, split into two
Salt to taste 2-3 tbsp. white oil 1 tbsp. mustard oil (optional) 2-3 green chillies for garnishing (optional)
Method Select potatoes which are long and flat in shape. Peel them (some prefer them with the skin) and cut them length-wise to get two flat halves. Cut the halves into thin slices. Keep them immersed in a bowl of water adding a pinch of salt to it (to avoid them from turning black, due to oxidation). Heat oil in a shallow heavy bottomed pan along with the mustard oil, if desired (mustard oil imparts a special flavour), on a medium flame and pop in the panch phoron. Put the red chillies. Add the potatoes, after draining the water well. Stir gently. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Mix well, cover the pan and cook over medium flame. Keep stirring gently from time to time taking care not to break the potato slices. Sprinkle very little water if the dish tends to stick to the pan, but do not let the dish turn soggy. Cook till the potatoes are soft. Transfer the dish into serving pan and garnish with green chillies, if you desire. Freshly ground black pepper may be sprinkled on top for special flavour.
Variation Here, phool kopi (cauliflower), Jhinga may be added to potatoes in say, 1:1 proportion. All the vegetables must be cut into thin long pieces. Jhinga will let out lot of water, so don't add extra water. Let all the water evaporate giving a stir-fried look to the dish. Serve with chapatis, parathas or plain dal and rice.
Beguni Bhaja from Bengali can completely convert an aubergine hater.
1 large sized tender brinjal Salt and sugar to taste ¼ tsp. Turmeric powder0 ¼ - ½ cup gram flour/ maida for batter
½ cup white oil 1 tbsp. khuskhus (poppy seed) ¼ cup mustard oil ¼ tsp. Kalonji (onion seed)
Method Wash the Brinjal well and cut into ¼" / ½" thick (thinner the slices, crispier will the fries be) round slices. If the slices are too big, cut them into two pieces. Sprinkle salt, turmeric powder and sugar (optional). Mix well and keep aside for ½ hour. In the meantime make a thick batter of gram flour or maida ( maida will absorb less oil while frying) adding a pinch cooking soda. Add the kalonji seeds to the batter. In a heavy bottomed fry pan heat together white oil and mustard oil. For fried brinjals mustard oil is a must to get the authentic flavour and taste. Gently squeeze out the water from the marinated pieces of brinjals. Dip each in the batter, sprinkle khuskhus seed over and deep fry in hot oil in batches of 6-8. Drain the excess oil. (Coating the fries is optional- if coated the fries will consume less oil.)The dish is an ideal accompaniment with luchi (pooris), Khichuri and plain dal rice or may also be consumed as a snack. If consumed as a snack, the slices must be thinner and they must be dipped in a thick batter of maida or gram flour. As a snack, as an accompaniment with jhaal moori (spiced puffed rice), the dish is simply delicious with a dash of finely powdered rock salt.