Crispy Eggplant: A Side Dish Game-Changer!

In the world of side dishes, fried potatoes often take center stage, leaving other vegetables overlooked and underappreciated. But what if there was a way to elevate your culinary repertoire with a side dish that not only rivals the beloved fried potato but surpasses it in flavor and texture? Enter the humble eggplant—a versatile vegetable that, when prepared with care and creativity, transforms into a crispy, irresistible delight that will have you reaching for seconds.


For the Fried Aubergines:

  • 2 large aubergines (eggplants), sliced into rounds: Begin with fresh, firm eggplants, ensuring they are free from any blemishes or soft spots. Slice them into rounds of uniform thickness to ensure even cooking and optimal crispiness.
  • Salt, for seasoning: Sprinkle salt over the sliced eggplants and let them sit for about 15 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture and bitterness, resulting in a firmer texture and milder flavor once fried.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour: Create a light and crispy coating for the eggplant slices by dredging them in all-purpose flour. This forms the base for the batter, ensuring it adheres evenly to the surface of the eggplant.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder: Incorporate baking powder into the flour mixture to help create a light and airy batter that puffs up when fried, resulting in a crispier texture.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt: Season the flour mixture with salt to enhance the flavor of the eggplant and ensure a well-balanced taste in every bite.
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper: Add a hint of warmth and complexity to the flour mixture with freshly ground black pepper, complementing the earthy flavor of the eggplant.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika: Infuse the flour mixture with smoky, aromatic paprika to add depth of flavor and a subtle hint of spice to the fried eggplant.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder: Enhance the savory profile of the flour mixture with garlic powder, adding layers of flavor that complement the natural sweetness of the eggplant.
  • 1 cup cold water: Gradually whisk cold water into the seasoned flour mixture until a smooth batter forms. The cold water helps create a light and crispy coating that adheres perfectly to the eggplant slices.
  • Vegetable oil, for frying: Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or deep fryer until it reaches 180°C (350°F). The oil should be hot enough to create a crisp exterior without absorbing excess oil, resulting in perfectly fried eggplant slices.

For the Delicious Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat to create the base for the delicious sauce that will accompany the fried eggplant.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced: Add minced garlic to the hot oil and sauté until fragrant, infusing the oil with bold, aromatic flavor that will permeate the sauce.
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes: Stir in canned chopped tomatoes, along with their juices, to create a rich and flavorful base for the sauce. Opt for high-quality canned tomatoes for the best results.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: Sprinkle dried oregano into the saucepan to add herbal notes and a hint of Mediterranean flair to the sauce, enhancing its overall depth of flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil: Incorporate dried basil into the sauce for a touch of freshness and sweetness that complements the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste: Season the sauce with salt and pepper to balance the flavors and ensure a well-rounded taste that enhances the fried eggplant.
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional): Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle them over the finished dish for a burst of vibrant color and herbaceous flavor that elevates the presentation.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional): For a finishing touch of indulgence, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the fried eggplant and sauce just before serving. The salty, nutty flavor of Parmesan adds depth and richness to the dish, making it even more irresistible.

Preparation Method:

  1. Slice the eggplants into rounds of uniform thickness, then sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels to remove any accumulated moisture.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Gradually whisk in the cold water until a smooth batter forms, ensuring there are no lumps.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or deep fryer over medium-high heat until it reaches 180°C (350°F). Dip each eggplant slice into the batter, ensuring it is evenly coated on all sides.
  4. Carefully place the battered eggplant slices into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried eggplant slices to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm up olive oil separately. Toss in minced garlic and cook until it releases its fragrance, typically around 1 minute. Afterward, introduce chopped tomatoes, dried oregano, and dried basil to the pan, stirring them gently.
  6. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. During this time, the sauce will gradually thicken to a desired consistency, while the flavors harmonize beautifully.
  7. Arrange the fried eggplant slices on a serving platter and spoon the delicious sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  8. Serve the crispy eggplant slices hot, accompanied by the flavorful tomato sauce, and enjoy the irresistible combination of crispy texture and savory flavor.


In a world where fried potatoes reign supreme, it’s time to give the humble eggplant its moment in the spotlight. With just a few simple ingredients and a bit of culinary know-how, you can transform this versatile vegetable into a crispy, flavorful masterpiece that will have you coming back for more.