What Are Beguni And What Do They Taste Like?

Even if you aren't an Indian food conoisseur, there are some dishes that have become quite mainstream in the U.S. For example, you know that chicken tikka masala is roasted chicken smothered in a spicy curry sauce, or that tandoori chicken is poultry marinated in creamy yogurt. You may even know that samosas are fried hunks of pastry dough that contain a meat or veggie filling. And who could forget naan, the fluffy bread that's best dunked into pots of hummus?

But there are also a lot of authentic Indian foods that you may not be familiar with (or that you may not find on the menu at your local American Indian restaurant). One of those? Beguni, which is a fried food you'll find on the streets of northern India (via Not Out of the Box). If you've heard of the traditional dish, but aren't sure what exactly is in it, here's everything you need to know.

Beguni is fried eggplant slices

A bowl of beguni looks similar to a bowl of potato chips — but the Bengali snack is actually made of eggplant. The squash is cut into thin slices and then dipped into a batter that typically consists of gram or rice flour, turmeric, ginger, and other Indian spices (via Spice and Colour). Once coated, the slices are fried to crispy perfection in a pan of sizzling hot oil. While you can use any type of oil, the blogger behind Maayeka says that frying it in mustard oil is the most authentic way of preparing the dish. 

Beguni is most commonly served with chutney, yogurt sauce for dipping, or a side of fluffy white rice, Taste Atlas explains. But what does beguni tastes like? The golden brown slices — which are also known as eggplant fritters — are crunchy and flavorful on the outside, thanks to the spice-packed batter. That crispy shell then gives way to a juicy eggplant interior.