Frying Aubergines

Q. Can suggest the best way to fry aubergines? As everyone knows, they soak up loads of oil, and if you try using less they don’t fry properly (I find they end up raw in parts the oil has missed and burnt in others, instead of achieving the desired browning effect all over). I’ve tried a few techniques that are supposed to help – using very hot oil, salting first, cutting the aubergines longways – but they haven’t really helped. Do you have any suggestions?

A. I know what you mean, although I’ve always thought that that divine, oil-sodden squidginess of the aubergine is the whole point of it. However, I do appreciate that not everyone sees that slick that oozes down the throat when you eat a forkful of the fruit (technically speaking an aubergine is a fruit, not a vegetable, by the way) in quite the same light. You can always drain your aubergine slices on kitchen towel after frying, which will soak up some of the surplus. I have also consulted a very useful little book called Don’t Sweat the Aubergine by Nicholas Clee. Mr Clee has researched out most of the methods recommended by various authorities. He reckons the salting method makes no difference to taste or texture. He recommends cutting the aubergines into cubes; putting the cubes onto a roasting tray; pouring oil for over them (1 tbsp per medium-sized aubergine) and roasting them at 200C/Gas 6 for 20-30 minutes until tender. On the other hand, Harold McGee suggests pre-cooking the aubergine in a microwave to collapse the spongy structure before frying it.

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About Matt

Food writer, television presenter and big eater.
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4 Responses to Frying Aubergines

  1. Thanks for your answer. Roasting them sounds like a doubly good idea as it saves on the effort of frying them in batches, which I always find quite time consuming and boring! I am looking forward to trying out both these techniques.

  2. Dust with flour – my very own invention! works every time, brilliant! And apologies if I sound as if I’m ‘preening’ – I’m not. I was vastly relieved to have solved an oily problem ….

    Pasta alla norma
    http://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/pasta-alla-norma/

    Seasonally incorrect – parmgiana
    http://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/seasonally-incorrect/

  3. When I’m making something like a moussaka, I use a pastry brush to coat my aubergine slices with oil and then griddle them. They get nicely browned without taking up excess oil … though I like a good amount of oil too!

  4. stevepsmithy says:

    …..or alternatively one could consign the damnable things straight to the bin and substitute an edible and flavoursome vegetable in its place. Aubergines being the work of the devil is one of the few things on which I and the adolescents of the household agree.

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