This is hands down one of my favourite appetizers. I love eggplant and I love Indian flavours, so this is a perfect combination in my books. It is also another recipe from Daska’s Gourmet Spices cookbook (the inspiration/source of almost all of my Indian recipes).
It is a super quick and easy to prepare recipe, not to mention fairly healthy. I’ve served it as an appetizer to an Indian inspired dinner, or as I did in this post, as a side-dish to a main meal.
The buttery flavour and texture of the eggplant blends perfectly with the slight kick from the spices and together with the crisp outside you get from pan-frying them, they are an irresistible combination.
With eggplants being so much more affordable in France, these will be on our table a lot more often (I nearly fell-over when the produce lady told me that this beautiful, flawless, deep purple eggplant was only 0.80 Euros. I have become accustomed to spending $4.00 for a slightly bruised, not quite perfect eggplant in Canada. Just another pleasant surprised in France.
Eggplant Papetas (Indian spiced eggplant appetizer)
Yield: 4 – 6 appetizer servings, 2 main course servings (however, depends entirely on the size of your eggplant).
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 0.5 tsp grated jalapeno pepper (fresh)
- 1 tsp ground garam masala
- 1 tsp ground thana jeero (or 0.5 tsp ground cumin and 0.5 tsp ground coriander)
- 0.5 tsp red chili powder
- 0.5 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 TBSP olive oil (plus 2 TBSP for cooking)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, jalapeno, garam masala, thana jeero, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and 3 TBSP of olive oil. Mix well to form a paste.
Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Lay all slices on a clean surface.
Using the back of a spoon or a silicone pastry brush, baste each piece of eggplant with spice mixture. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
Place flour in a shallow bowl. Place each piece of eggplant into the flour bowl and shake lightly, to coat the eggplant evenly. Tap lightly to remove extra flour.
Repeat with all remaining eggplant slices.
The next step will have to be done in batches.
Heat a large frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil and heat until glistening.
Add half of the eggplant slices (or as many will fit into your pan) and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes. Keep careful watch as not to burn them. If they brown too quickly, lower the heat.
Flip each slice over and cook the other side, until nice and crisp (and golden brown).
Remove from frying pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess oil.
Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
Serve immediately or place in a 400 degree oven until ready to serve. If you keep them warm in the oven, keep an eye on them. They should be fine for 15-20 minutes, but you might need to dry-fry them again prior to serving, just to crisp them up again!
Serve with raita or mint yogurt.
Recipe Adapted Slightly from Dashka’s Gourmet Spices Cookbook