This eggplant fry recipe makes a great side dish, especially when the rest of your meal is low on spices. It’s often on my menu for a quick weekday dinner, with boiled rice, raita and simple pressure-cooked yellow dal. Which is not to say that it does not work well with a lavish party meal but yes, it does add a special je ne sais quoi to otherwise masala-free fare.
The recipe is uncomplicated – no heavy-duty chopping or grinding or curry-creating. Just a few ingredients, just a few steps.
- Long purple eggplant – 3
- Pav bhaji masala* – 1 heaped tablespoon (I use Everest)
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – approx. 1 tablespoon
*If you don’t have readymade pav bhaji masala, you could take the longer route of creating your own – here‘s a nice recipe.
Slice the eggplant vertically into half, then cut int0 2-inch long pieces. Immerse in salted water for 20 minutes to get rid of its bitterness. Shake out the water, pat dry.
In a separate bowl, mix pav bhaji masala and salt. Spread out the masala on a flat dish. Dunk the eggplant slices into the masala to coat them evenly.
Heat mustard oil in a kadhai/wok. When smoking hot, set the heat to low, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Tilt the wok and swivel the oil around so that it coats the base of the wok. Put in the masala-coated eggplant slices. Arrange them in a single layer, face down at first, and cook them till golden.
The dish doesn’t need your constant attention – but don’t let it out of your sight entirely either. Every other minute, move the eggplant slices around the wok or flip them over to ensure even cooking. Sprinkle a little more mustard oil if the masala sticks to the pan.
The eggplant slices are done when they have softened inside, turned a roasted hue outside, and are firm to the bite. In my kadhai this takes around 15 minutes.
Serve masala-coated eggplant fry with rice, dal, vegetable curry and raita.
- I use the long, slim, purple variety of eggplant for masala-coated eggplant fry. You could try replacing it with roundels of fat bharta-style eggplant.