Eggplant, as fresh as can be, plucked this morning from the kitchen garden. Droplets of rain from the overnight showers, glistening as they catch a streak of the nascent sun, still cradled on the august purple.
Gorgeous green mangoes from a friends garden. Victims of yesterday’s violent thunderstorm. Her hastily scribbled note on the brown bag read.
Memories of childhood come fleeting back.
Raging kaalboisakhis. Ominous flashes of lightning. Deafening claps of thunder. Genuflecting trees whipped by power-drunk winds to a humble submission. And showers that blurred the distant horizons.
And once the cosmic dance had come to an end, the bliss and calm.
Didi and I, lanterns in tow and fireflies for company, headed out to the backyard to collect green mangoes. Rendered homeless by the storm.
Those were the days !!!
Fast-forward to the present.
It’s not everyday you are blessed with fresh garden produce as this, isnt it ?
And what other than an Aam Begun, Maa’s endearing recipe during sultry summers when green mangoes were in profusion, to do justice to these beauties ?
So Aam Begun it is.
Deep fried eggplant. Sinfully caramelized. The crisp tart of green mangoes. The earthy sweetness of honey. The fiendish heat of green chillies. The piquant zing of mustard. A yogic equilibrium of flavors.
And if you adore green mangoes as much as I do, please give my Aam Potol (Parwal with Green Mango) a try as well 🙂
Aam Begun (Eggplant with Green Mango)
- 1 medium sized eggplant cut into 2 inch long batons
- 1 small raw green mango roughly chopped and blended to a coarse paste with 1-2 green chillies
- 1 tsp turemeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 7-8 green chilies slit
- 2-3 dry whole red chillies
- 1 tsp honey
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Smear the eggplant batons with little turmeric powder and salt.
- Soak 2 tbsp yellow mustard and 1/2 tbsp black mustard in warm water for 15 odd minutes. Drain the mustard. Make a smooth paste of the mustard with 3-4 green chillies, a pinch of turmeric powder and a couple of grains of rice.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and fry the eggplant till light brown. Keep aside on a kitchen absorbent towel.
- Add another 1 tbsp oil to the same pan, when smoking hot, throw in 1/2 tbsp of black mustard seeds and the red chillies. Allow to splutter.
- Add 1 tbsp of green mango paste, cook till oil is released. Stir in the mustard paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Throw in the fried eggplant and remaining green chillies, toss lightly. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Splash a little water if it is getting a bit too dry.
- Add the honey and some more mango paste if you want it to be more tart.
- Adjust seasonings.
- Switch off the flame. Drizzle the remaining mustard oil.