Cooking authentic Bengali foods with less oil and spices is somewhat tricky. One needs to know the right amount of heat or flame, the amount and shape of the vegetables for a particular dish, how much to cook or the perfect timing, and thus all the ingredients shall retain their tastes.
Neem Begun(Brinjal and Margosa fry recipe)
This Neem Begun recipe is Teto means bitter taste dish: regularly take neem eggplant to ward off seasonal illness.
- 1 small bowl of neem leaves (নিম)
- 1 small begun/baigan, purple one (বেগুন)
- 1 tbsp oil (preferably mustard oil)
- 1 pinch of turmeric (হলুদ)
- 1 teaspoon salt
Take some newly grown neem leaves those are slightly reddish in color, wash it well, and then pat dry. Cut the begun (vatingana) in triangular shape, (first make a round disc then cut into four per disc), wash it thoroughly and put enough salt and turmeric (holud), keep it in rest for 10 minutes. The begun (brinjal) will become soft by then. Now fry the begun (brinjal) first in oil for 5 to 7 minutes on high flame, keep aside. In that pan on low heat fry neem leaves until it will be crisp and gives out a strong aroma. It will take 8 to 10 minutes, have patience, you can forget it on stove, but do not let it burn. Turn off the flame and add the fried begun to it.
- If you dry much of the neem leaves you can store in a small container and keep it in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks.
- You can microwave or dry on low flame and store the dried neem leaves for cooking as well as other purposes.
- Do not throw away the stems of the neem leaves. Boil them till the water turns green, use it while taking a bath, a healthy and economical substitute of an antiseptic.
- You can always use the neem leaf dusts herbal cosmetics (face packs, bath salts etc), use it during floor cleansing, use it in your indoor plant, even you can use it as a supplement for mosquito coil or burn it with ashtagandha in dhunuchi during daily puja.
निम्बति सेचोते, रसेनो स्वस्थङग ;
र्रिस्तोः शुभेति तद अशेषेनो ग्यपयति दुरत् i
तस्व रसोः र्हिदोयोभुमे, यतोबेदोसों पित्तोबोत अग्निं
तस्व दह शन्तिकृत, अयख्ययो ख्हयोरोग्यो संग्जातो -
कृमिसमुद्भुतय त्बा संग्सृजामि प्रजाभ्य