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What Are the Best Tips for Frying Eggplant?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 16, 2024
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One of the most important things to consider when frying eggplant is decreasing the amount of grease the eggplant absorbs by first salting it thoroughly. It's also important to cook eggplant evenly and to avoid undercooking. When frying, the eggplant should be turned often and cooked over medium heat. Stir-fried eggplant is also an option, and certain varieties are better suited for this cooking method.

There are various types of eggplant you can choose from for a variety of recipes. Globe eggplant is one of the most popular, and when properly salted and cooked, it is suitable for many popular recipes. Frying eggplant first requires that you cut the eggplant into slices, cubes, or whatever option the recipe calls for. Before cutting and frying eggplant, it is optional to peel it first since the outer peeling can be tough in texture.

Once you have peeled the eggplant and chopped it to the desired shape and thickness, cover it with salt and allow it to sit in a bowl or colander for at least an hour. The salt helps to absorb juices that can be bitter or otherwise displeasing in taste. This results in a better flavor and also prevents the eggplant from absorbing as much grease during the frying process.

Unless you are deep frying breaded eggplant, avoid using more grease than necessary. Coat a pan in canola oil, olive, oil, or a similar grease or oil for frying. Season the eggplant in whatever herbs or spices you wish to use. You may also coat the eggplant with bread crumbs, crackers, or a pre-packaged breading mixture. Nuts can also be used for some recipes. Heat the oil on high until it begins to bubble slightly, and then add the eggplant in a single layer.

Once you begin frying eggplant, lower the heat to medium or lower, depending on the thickness of the slices or cubes you are using. Thicker slices should be cooked on a lower temperature setting than thinner ones because they must be cooked more slowly. Failure to follow this tip could result in burnt exterior and raw center. It is important to cook eggplant thoroughly since undercooked slices will not have a good flavor or texture.

When stir-frying eggplant, using a Chinese or Japanese variety is often recommended. These are generally better in texture and less likely to absorb oils than globe varieties. Rules for stir-frying eggplant are the same as for all other recipes, except sesame seed oil or Asian sauces are often used instead of other oils.

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