Aubergine, eggplant, melanzana or brinjal – whatever you may call it, we love it. From the bulbous dark purple ones found in supermarkets to the smaller globe-shaped and slender Japanese varieties found in specialist grocers, aubergine is a versatile vegetable that makes for the perfect side or main. Here are five of our favourite ways to cook it:
Shallow fry it to make Aubergine Katsu
Ditch the chicken and coat thin slices of aubergine (cut lengthways), in beaten egg and seasoned panko crumbs before shallow frying for a veggie katsu. Serve over boiled rice with a generous serving of fragrant katsu sauce to complement the crunchiness of the panko and the creamy centre of the aubergine.
Bake it to build a Melanzane alla Parmigiana
An oldie but a goodie, aubergine parmigiana has earned its place on this list. Slices of griddled aubergine layered with mozzarella, Parmesan and a lip-smacking garlicky tomato sauce is pretty much our definition of veggie comfort food on a plate. Though griddling the slices of aubergine can be a little time consuming, it’s worth the effort when you’re served a heaving portion of this basil-scented bake for lunch.
Deep fry it to make a Bangladeshi Beguni
Most of us have salivated over a fragrantly crisp onion bhaaji, but did you know slices of aubergine can be prepared in the same way too? Coated in a batter of gram flour, spices and a dash of water, these deliciously savoury deep-fried discs have a crunchy exterior and a meltingly tender middle. Perfect to pile up and feast on with a cardamom flavoured chai on a rainy day. Plus, they’re suitable for vegans and gluten free courtesy of the chickpea flour.
Fire roast it to make an Iranian Bharta
Blacken and blister the skins of some aubergine under a hot grill, oven, barbecue or directly over the flames of a gas hob to make the fixings for a bharta; a spiced main meal made with mashed vegetables. Start off by removing the flesh from your blackened aubergines, taking care to do this over a bowl to capture all the smoky juices. Then scramble an egg in a hot pan with some cumin seeds and add your aubergine along with fresh tomatoes, sliced garlic, salt, chilli flakes and turmeric. Once your tomatoes have softened, turn the heat up and fry until all the charred flavours have melded together. Finish with slices of fresh green chilli and coriander.
Brunch-ify it into a Middle Eastern Eggplant Shakshuka
Add a serving of vegetables to your late breakfast with a juicy brunch of aubergine shakshuka. The gooey egg yolk baked on top perfectly complements the tomatoey-aubergine base and there are plenty of juices to mop up with a hunk of bread. It’s the perfect lazy weekend breakfast/brunch.
Burger-fy it into Veggie Fritters
Got a single, sad-looking aubergine knocking about your fridge? Turn it into a delicious fritter by grating it into a batter made of flour, seasonings, an egg and some sharp cheddar. Fry gently in a slick of oil for a heavenly lunch served with a salad or pop a couple into a crusty cob slathered with mayo and pickles for a quick veggie burger.