Bengali Begun Bortha-A Spicy and Delicious Eggplant Side Dish

Begun (eggplant) bortha is a cooked and mashed eggplant side dish that’s mixed with thinly sliced onions, Thai chili peppers, lots of fresh cilantro, and salt. It’s super simple and easy to make, and is packed with flavor—perfect to pair with rice!

Bortha is a Bengali term for a type of dish that’s smashed by hand and mixed with raw onions, chili, and cilantro. Usually it’s made with one main ingredient—in this case, eggplant, but it can be almost anything, like cooked fish, potato, shrimp, some seeds, some leafy vegetables, and so much more. It’s spicy, fresh, flavorful, and pairs deliciously with rice.

The Eggplant

Broiled Eggplant

To make begin bortha, start by cooking the eggplant. Any dry method of cooking (without oil) will work. I broil mine until tender, making sure to turn to cook evenly. Another option is wrapping the eggplant in foil and roasting it. Or air frying the eggplant or cooking directly in the stovetop flame.

Once completely tender, set the eggplant aside to rest and prepare the rest of the ingredients

The Base

The Base for Begun Bortha

Combine thinly sliced onion, 1-3 Thai chili peppers depending on how spicy you prefer, a handful of cilantro (the more the better), and a good sprinkling of salt.

Mix everything by hand, massaging all the ingredients really well together. Once the onion softens and releases it’s juices, the base is ready!

The Bortha

To make the bortha, break the eggplant up by hand into the bowl with the onion mixture. If the skin is burnt, avoid adding it and only include the flesh. Massage by hand until fully incorporated and broken down. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Enjoy with fresh and fluffy rice!

Usually borthas are served with more dishes—like this delicious fish curry, or other borthas, like this fish version.

Begun Bortha


Serves 4-6

Time: 20 minutes

  • 2-3 Chinese eggplant or one regular eggplant
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 1-3 Thai chilis*
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste


1. Slice eggplants in half and place on a tray. Broil until tender, turning occasionally

2. Combine onions, Thai chilis, chopped cilantro, and salt in a mixing bowl. Massage ingredients together by hand until the onions soften and releases its juices

3. Break the eggplant in by hand once cooled and massage in until incorporated. Serve with rice and enjoy!


Add Thai chilis according to desired spice level

2 responses to “Bengali Begun Bortha-A Spicy and Delicious Eggplant Side Dish”

  1. Love begun bortha! I came on here to see how you broil/baked it in the oven. Usually I do stovetop or frying pan. Looks delish MashaAllah!

    • Hehe I’m happy to have you here! Frying it sounds even more delicious but we’re being “health conscious” over here 🥲 I do like that broiling gives it a deeper smoky flavor though!

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