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Aubergine a versatile vegetable

Aubergine are a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. There are so many different varieties to choose from. They are brilliant for adding a smooth silky texture to a dish or adding bulk to a meal.

As a child I was shown how to select the best aubergine which ones are used for which curry. I feel lucky that my mum would demonstrated how to prepare and cook the versatile vegetable.

I have visited Spain, Italy, Greece and many other countries and aubergine is used in different ways. Accompanied with a sweet sauce or molasses. Delicious. There are black, white, purple, round, large and also slender varieties.
You can stuff, slice, fry, salt, pickle and bake them. Did I mention they are versatile.

To select the best aubergine, shiny glossy and unblemished is what you are looking for. When you prepare the aubergine, cut into the desired shape and place into cold water to stop them from going brown.

A question I am always asked during the cookery session do you salt them or not?

It depends on whether you want to soften them? Adding salt and set aside for 45 minutes to see them release water which is discarded.

Salting them when fried tends to absorb less oil. Aubergines are like sponges.

Here is a party idea to share with your family over the festive period.

Crispy aubergine and fennel bites

Ingredients
Serves 4
50g gram flour
1 tbspn semolina flour
1/2tsp onion seed
1tsp cumin seed
1/2tsp fennel seed
1/2-1tsp chilli powder
1/2tsp salt
1 large aubergine
Vegetable oil for frying

Method
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add all
The remaining ingredient expect the aubergine and vegetable oil.
2. Halve the aubergine lengthwise and cut into 5 mm thick slices. Rinse and shake off excess water and pop them into the spiced gram flour mixture. Toss them around and evenly coat each piece.
3 Now heart the oil in a deep frying pan or set a deep fryer to 180C.,
4. Test the oil by adding a little of the flour mixture to the oil and it should float to the surface.
5. Then add a few of the aubergine one at a time to fry the aubergine. They will cook within 2-3minutes or turn golden brown and float to the surface.
Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon or wire basket.
6. Repeat step 5 until all the aubergine slices are cooked.

Serve with a crispy salad, molasses of your choice or sweet mango chutney.

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