Although eggplants by themselves are almost impossible to turn crisp without first dehydrating them, with a little magic using very ordinary ingredients, you can transform them into appetizers cum snacks with layers of texture and flavor. Thinly sliced eggplants are dredged in seasoned flour, dipped in beaten eggs, rolled in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) then pan fried.
While the eggplant’s flesh stays soft and moist and subtly sweet, the panko coating turns crisp and golden brown in the hot oil. The result? With every bite, you get crispness as your teeth first cut through the coating. Then, you reach the softness of the eggplant within.
Pair these luscious nuggets with traditional tempura dipping sauce and you’ve got yourself a winner.
- 3 eggplants (the long, thin Asian variety which is subtly sweet with no trace of bitterness
- about 1/3 c. of plain all-purpose flour stirred with 1 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- about 1 c. of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- about 1 c. of oil for frying
- Slice the eggplants diagonally — about 1/4 inch thick slices are ideal.
- Start heating the cooking oil over medium-high heat.
- You will need to create an “assembly line” for efficient prep work. For a visual guide, click here.
- Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in egg then roll in the panko. Repeat with all the eggplant slices.
- Fry the eggplant slices in batches of five to six, flipping them over after about 30 to 40 seconds which is just enough time to brown the underside. Cook for another 30 to 40 seconds or so to brown the opposite side.
- Scoop out the eggplants as they cook and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat, cooking the remaining eggplant slices in small batches.
- Serve your crispy panko-coated eggplant nuggets while hot with tempura sauce on the side.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3