Fried eggplant chips: a classic Greek meze!
Remember when we shared our fried zucchini chip recipe and you were so thankful that you were sending us cards of gratitude and telling all your friends to follow Mia Kouppa? That wasn’t you? Well, why not? You should really think about getting on that bandwagon! 🙂 In any case, we think that this recipe, similar but different to the summer squash chips, might just have you running out to pick up some stamps.
Fried eggplant chips. The perfect way to convince people who think that they don’t like eggplant that they actually, really do! You will be amazed to see how a somewhat spongy vegetable can be transformed into something so crisp and delicate, and so, surprisingly un-greasy. These eggplant chips are so yummy, that they might even convince the anti-auberginers out there to try other eggplant recipes too, like these eggplant bruschettas or moussaka.
The key to nice, crisp eggplant chips is ensuring that your eggplant are sliced as thinly as possible. We tend to use a mandolin for such thin slicing, but a sharp knife and a steady hand will work just as well. Remember that a sharp knife is actually safer to use than a dull one.
As you will read in the recipe which follows, you need to salt and then drain your eggplant prior to coating it with batter and frying it. This is a critical step as the salt will draw out much of the water from the eggplant slices. It is actually incredible to see how a little bit of salt sprinkled over the eggplant slices causes this to happen. As a final step, take each eggplant slice and press it tightly between two layers of paper towel; this will soak up all of the excess liquid, leaving you with a dry vegetable. At this point, your eggplant is ready to batter up and fry.
Because you add salt to the eggplant for it to drain, no additional salt is required in the actual batter.
Another important factor for delicious chips is to ensure that the oil is hot enough so that it only takes a couple of minutes per side to obtain a nice, golden colour on your eggplant. The best way to test the temperature of the oil would be to use a thermometer, but since our parents do not own one, we use their method instead. Simply slip one sacrificial eggplant slice into the oil and when it starts to bubble up, your oil is hot enough to fry with.
The batter which you will prepare for these eggplant chips is relatively runny. After you coat your eggplant slice in the batter (you will coat each slice individually), wipe it along the side of your bowl to remove the excess. You want a very thin layer of batter on each eggplant piece; this will lead to a lighter chip.
You may find that as your chips are cooking, even if you do not crowd your frying pan, your eggplant chips will stick together. Gently tease them apart using tongs and a fork, or two forks.
These chips are best eaten soon after they are made, which frankly, won’t be a problem. Remember to drain your fried eggplant well however, lifting them out of the pan one by one and allowing the oil to drain back into the pan for a few seconds. Then, allow the chips to rest for a few minutes on a paper towel, so that any remaining excess grease is soaked up.
Eggplant chips are delicious when served with feta or tzatziki.
Fried eggplant chips
- 2 Eggplants small to medium size
- 1 1/2 tspn Salt
- 1 cup (150 grams) All-purpose flour
- 1 tspn Dried oregano
- 1/4 tspn Ground black pepper
- 1 1/3 cup (330 mL) water
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Feta (optional)
- Tzatziki (optional)
- Slice your eggplant thinly into rounds. Place sliced eggplant into a colander set over a bowl or in the sink. With every layer of eggplant slices that you place in the colander, sprinkle them generously with salt.
- Allow the eggplant to drain in the colander for at least 30 – 45 minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, oregano, pepper and water. Whisk well until everything is combined. The batter should not be very thick
- Using paper towels you will now remove as much liquid as you can from the eggplant. One by one, take an eggplant slice and press it tightly with your hands between two paper towels. Set your dry eggplant slices aside. Repeat with all of the eggplant.
- Pour about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil into a pan. Heat over medium heat.
- Dip the eggplant slices, one by one, into the batter and then directly slip into the frying pan. The oil is hot enough when the eggplant immediately begins to sizzle.
- Do not crowd pan; you will have to cook in batches. Turn the eggplant using tongs. They are done when they are a golden brown on both sides.
- When they are cooked, use your tongs to remove the eggplant from the hot oil. Allow any excess oil to drip off back into the pan, and let your fried eggplant chips cool on a paper towel lined plate.
- Repeat with remaining eggplant.
- Serve with crumbled feta or with tzatziki…or both!