When Somnath RoyChoudhury is not thinking “ads”, he is the muse for many food lovers all across the world.
Somnath and I were perhaps destined to meet, albeit online. He has immense knowledge about Bengali cuisine, particularly of the northern region of Bengal, and shares not just recipes, but little known facts about ingredients and recipes with a no-holds bar attitude.
Somnath Da, as he is lovingly called by many of his foodie friends stumbled upon this recipe of Bengali Begun Pora with Mince Meat while he was spring cleaning. This recipe was originally published more than 20 years ago by Anandabazar Patrika and belongs to Sujata Gangopadhyay.
The original recipe by Sujata Gangopadhyay asks for the brinjal/eggplant to be roasted by poking holes in it and stuffing the cooked keema (mince meat) in it. Then these inserts in the brinjal were plugged with garlic pods. Both Somnath and I skipped this step. Instead we have stuck with the more popular method of fire roasting our begun/eggplant/brinjal/aubergine/baingan!
Apparently, “Kimbegunti” is a pun derived from the Bengali word “Kingbodonti” which means legend. Also, if you look closely, you will see that the main ingredients of this dish are hidden in its name – Kim-Begun-ti.
Ingredients for Kimbegunti are:
For the roasted eggplant/begun pora
2 mid-size, light dark purple eggplant (about 750 grams) (Read how to choose an eggplant)
2 medium size ripe, red tomatoes
Few green chillies, woven on wooden skewers
2-3 tablespoons raw mustard oil
Slice the eggplant lengthwise till its stem/head, making sure you do not separate the two halves. Fire roast the eggplant till its mushy.
300 grams mince meat (Somnath da used chicken, I used beef, the original recipe has goat mince)
1 medium size red onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped green chillies
1 teaspoon freshly ground garam masala powder (Black and green cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves)
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 heaped tablespoon fresh coriander paste (leaves and stem)
3 tablespoons plain yogurt, whisked with a couple of spoons of water
1 tablespoon fennel/mota mauri powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri lal mirch/red chilli powder
Half teaspoon black pepper powder
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons mustard oil
Fresh coriander leaves finely chopped for garnish
Quarter teaspoon sugar
Heat mustard oil a thick pan. Add the sugar and let it caramelize. Now add the chopped red onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, bay and freshly powdered garam masala. Cook these ingredients on low-medium heat till they get coated with the garam masala and start releasing oil. Now add the ginger-garlic paste. Cook for some more time till the raw paste gets caramelized and turns light brown.
Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes till you see oil surface on the sides. Turn the heat off and let the mince meat cool down a bit. Now add the coriander paste, whisked yogurt and fennel powder. Mix well and cook covered on very low heat lest the yogurt curdles.
Remove the charred skin from the eggplant and tomatoes as soon as they are warm enough to handle with your hands. The fire-roasted vegetables will also release a lot of juices as they sit in a bowl, make sure you have saved and used all that goodness.
I did not mash the green chillies and kept them whole to be added at the end. Mix the eggplant-tomato mash to the cooked mince meat. Mix well, zing it up with some more raw mustard oil if you like it that way. Sprinkle some chopped coriander and mix that in.
DO NOT cook the eggplant with the mince meat now. The Kimbegunti is now ready to be eaten with fluffy rotis/chapatis. I added some sliced onions as well to my finished Kimbegunti.