This is it guys. The crispy eggplant you have all been asking me for. This eggplant brought many people joy during DEZ days and it is completely inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in Tel-Aviv, HAKOSEM (which means magician in hebrew and after tasting this eggplant, you will understand why that restaurant is called the magician) This eggplant is magical. Not greasy (even though you fry in oil) crunchy, crispy and insanely addictive.
The trick is to slice it thick-ish and salt it generously. Let it sit out releasing puddles of water. Pat dry aggressively, cover in corn starch aggressively and then fry in hot oil until it comes out golden and dark brown in some places (you want to make sure the eggplant meat inside is cooked, custardy and sweet). I have topped the eggplant in this pic with garlicky tahini, amba (mango pickle sauce), fresh parsley and sea salt but you can really do whatever you want here. Someone suggested drizzling it with honey or silan (date syrup) and once I tried that….you’ll see.
1 large eggplant or 2 medium eggplants
1 cup cornstarch
4 cups canola oil or any oil with no flavor and a high smoke point like grapeseed, sunflower, veggie
sea salt to finish
serve with garlicky tahini (recipe below), amba, fresh parsley, fresh lemon, parsley, honey
Directions- Slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch thick pieces. You have the option of keeping the skin on or removing the skin. I keep it on, because I don’t like to waste it but if you remove the skin, it will get even crispier. Place the eggplant slices on a sheet tray and generously salt the eggplant. Let it sit out at room temp for at least 1 hour. Puddles of liquid will come out of the eggplant. Before frying, take a kitchen towel and pat down the eggplant well, drying them off as much as possible. Slice in half on a diagonal (I think they are too big to fit in a sandwich or a pita this way so I like to slice them in half) Place the cornstarch in a bowl and toss each piece in the cornstarch well. Shake off excess and place on a dry sheet tray. Heat up the oil in a deep pot. If you don’t have a thermometer (which I don’t) heat on high and sprinkle a little cornstarch in the oil. If it sizzles it should be ready. Turn the heat to medium high it should be around 350 degrees f and add in the first piece. I like to fry one at a time so that the oil temp stays up (if you overcrowd the oil the temp will come down and the eggplant wont fry they will soak)
Flip the eggplant over once the bottom is golden and brown in some places around 1-2 minutes. When the other side is golden another 1-2 minutes remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to let dry. Immediately season well with sea salt.
Serve this eggplant on its own, on sandwiches, in pitas…you can do a lot with it.
For my crispy eggplant fries, I peeled the eggplant and sliced them into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Salted them and let them sit out for an hour, pat dry and then sliced them into strips (keep them thicker so that there is enough eggplant inside to get creamy, while it’s frying). Toss the strips in the cornstarch and 1 handful at a time fry in the oil until golden. Let it fry for 3 minutes until they are golden and lightly browned (make sure they get to that golden light brown color, you want the meat inside to cook). Remove from the oil and place on paper towel. Season well with salt and serve with yummy condiments like garlicky tahini, amba, silan, honey….etc.
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
large pinch kosher salt- or to taste
3 tablespoons cup ice water
Directions- Place everything in a bowl and mix. The tahini will get thick and pasty but keep mixing. Add more water to loosen, if needed.