Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stir Fried Fenugreek Leaves with Fried Aubergine/ Brinjal (Methi Shaak Baygoon Bhaja)

As I have mentioned in my previous post I was away from blogosphere due to my health and so missed all the activity that was happening in the world of food blogs. Few days back I managed to squeeze out some time to take a trip around the world of food blogs – particularly the ones I follow – and I came across this event  ‘Spotlight– Winter Vegetables’ at Indrani’s blog Recipe Junction; I was definitely interested and wanted to participate, but what was it that got me so excited? Well simple, it was this remark by Indrani, ‘There are lots of advantages eating seasonal fruits, fruits and vegetables will not only be cheaper but also at their flavor and nutritional peaks’, that is something my mum always said, she never liked to cook unseasonal vegetables.
Besides isn’t this blog all about my (late) mum’s cooking? Mum cooked leafy vegetables like spinach and fenugreek leaves (Methi) only during winter and I am following mum.

Last winter I had posted Stir Fried Fenugreek Leaves with Potatoes which was cooked by Ma and I had mentioned how the potatoes could be replaced with aubergine. This winter – my first winter without Ma- I decided to cook the leaves with aubergine and I am sure you will agree that there is no point in cooking something without posting it on my blog. 

So here is a typical Bengali vegetarian recipe comprising fenugreek leaves and aubergine called methi baygoon bhaaja (stir fried fenugreek leaves with aubergine). I had once cooked it probably more than a decade ago in my mum’s presence but this is the first time I cooked it in her absence. The question is did I do everything right? I guess so for there was no difference in the taste; there however was a difference and that was in the way I diced the aubergine, well the cubes of the aubergine were not equal sized, the way mum chopped vegetables it was almost like a work of art.

Without further ado I will go on to the recipe. A word of caution, you will find I have only listed the ingredients without specifying the measurements; you will have to make your own judgment besides it is also a matter of personal taste but I have a suggestion- it would be better to have more aubergine and less of the fenugreek leaves for the dish might taste too bitter but all the same the choice is yours, as I said it is a matter of personal taste.

  • Fenugreek Leaves
  • Aubergine (Not the small variety but the ones we normally use for bharta)
  • Turmeric powder
  • Kashmiri chilli powder or green chillies
  • Salt to taste

  • Pluck the leaves from the stems and wash them well. 
  • Boil the leaves; take care not to over boil the leaves and do not use too much water. Incidentally after cooking I checked my blog and noticed that Ma had chopped the leaves before boiling them.  
  • Dice the aubergine. 
  • Heat some mustard oil in a wok or kadhai. Bengalis prefer to use mustard oil but if you are not comfortable with it then you may use any other oil but I feel the mustard oil imparts a lovely flavour to the dish. 
  •  Shallow fry the diced aubergine. 
  • Remove the fried aubergine from the oil and keep it aside. 
  • In the same oil shallow fry the boiled fenugreek leaves, take care to squeeze out all the water from the leaves before frying the leaves. Do not discard this water.
  • Now add the fried pieces of aubergine to the leaves, stir a bit. 
  • Add a bit of turmeric powder and the red chilli powder; you may substitute the red chilli powder with green chillies. I prefer to use Kashmiri chilli powder for it is milder than the regular chillies. Ma however used only green chillies for this dish. 
  • Add salt to taste and stir well. 
  • Add the water which you have squeezed out from the boiled fenugreek leaves. Cover and leave it for a while till the water has evaporated. 

Bengalis have it as a first course and it is normally eaten with steamed rice but you can also have it with phulka rotis.

Sending this to Indrani's event Spotlight: Winter Vegetables


  1. Hi Shilpi,

    it is good to see you back. I thought of writing to you long back, but somehow missed it in the hustles of life. I hope you are fit and gesund now.

    The Aubergine with Methi looks very tempting. I do not get fresh Methi here, but I'm planning to grow my own Methis this summer. This is a dish I would surely try when I do. :)

    Take care :)

  2. Awesome recipe..A must try..Bookmarked


  3. lovely recipe, even though I don't like methi leaves much..even my mom always cuts her veges same size, thanks for linking it to my event, would love to have some more interesting recipe like this one

  4. Hi Shilpi,
    Hope now you are doing fine. Bagun Bhaja looks so tempting. Just give me some rice and little dal and I would indulge in this lovely bhaja. Wonderful preparation.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  5. This sounds delicious, Shilpi. I do make methi baigun, but with a different recipe. The diced baigun is first fried in mustard oil, then fresh ginger ground with mustard seeds is added to it, along with chopped(raw) methi leaves. It's stirred for 4-5 minutes, then chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder and salt is added. It's then covered and allowed to cok for a few minutes until it's done.

    I must try your version the next time I get methi!

    1. I am sure it tastes great, actually I love the aroma of methi.

  6. ami tomar ager post ta miss kore giechi. akhon shorir bhalo ache to? i also believe is seasonal vegetables and this bhaja is a winter fav. for us.

  7. Ma was very particular about eating only seasonal vegetables.

  8. Never tried this combo...looks yum...

  9. This sounds so good and simple.
    I don't get methi leaves here. Maybe I should plant them. Last time I found some dried fenugreek leaves! I wonder if one could use them. i used it to make thepla and it was nice, though no taste of methi came through.
    Can you imagine, as a child I never liked brinjal and now I love it.
    You know, since some two or three years I am buying this green curry powder here. No idea, what it is usually used for or what it constitutes of, but it goes very well with aubergines and I make a aubergine-mushroom-rice with the green curry masala. It turns out quite good. At times I even add purreed spinach as well.
    Sorry, that I am going on about my experiences with brinjal. I am stopping now.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response harvey. To answer your question about using dried fenugreek leaves, no it has to be the fresh leaves, but yes they are okay for theplas.
      You do not have to apologize for going on about your experiences. It makes for interesting reading, in fact that bit about the green curry powder is quite interesting.Aren't the ingredients printed on the packet of the powder?

    2. Yeah, I guess that dried fenugreek leaves won't do.
      No, the green curry powder comes in a small plastic bag without only the name and price on it. Just imagine! I am sure it is against the law! But it tastes good all the same.
      Today I made a vegetable kofta in tomato gravy with cream for guests. It turned out nice.

    3. Harvey, you sure sound like a good cook, would you like to do a guest post for my blog, Madhu and Samir have done some guest posts for this blog.

  10. Clicked in here from Sayantani's blog and I see that you have suffered a loss of the gravest kind. But my friend, take heart and chin up...there is a life ahead and our own energy level gives positive energy to many who surround us, our loved ones. Keep yourself busy in some or the other creative thing or just start gardening. I have been through it, so I understand.
    You have a great blog!!!

  11. Sounds delicious! I can't get fresh fenugreek leaves here - is it any good trying with dried ones ?

    1. No Ash dried fenugreek is not going to work.