KHASA BAIGAN BHAJI
-Recipe from Yamuna mataji
These are aptly called eggplant sandwich fritters. When I first served
them to Srila Prabhupada, much to my delight, he dubbed them “vegetable
chops”. These fritters can be served hot or at room temperature.
Salting time: ½ hour
Preparation and cooking time: about 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds/1 kg), cut crosswise into ½ -inch (1.5 cm) slices salt.
½ cup (50 g) chickpea flour (shifted before measuring)
3 table spoons (45 ml) self-rising flour or whole wheat pastry flour mixed with a generous pinch of baking powder
2 table spoon (30 ml) cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) cayenne pepper or paprika
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric
3 table spoons (45 ml) finely chopped fresh coriander, basil or parsley
3 table spoons (45 ml) water
6 ounces (170 g) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 ¼ cups (125 g) fresh or dry bread crumbs or 2/3 cup (115 g) fine semolina
ghee or vegetable oil for shallow-frying.
Place the eggplant slices on a tray and sprinkle liberally with
salt. Let them sit for at least ½ hour to draw out excess moisture
Combine the flours, baking powder, cornmeal, cayenne or paprika,
turmeric, fresh herb and ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) of salt with the water in a
bowl and whisk into a smooth batter the consistency of thick cream.
(You may have to add more water).
3. Rinse the
salt off the eggplant and pat the slices dry with paper towels. To
obtain uniform rounds, cut out with biscuit rings about 12 inches (5
cm) in diameter. Pair eggplant slices of the same size, reserving the
ends or trimmings for another use. Trim the cheese slices so they are
slightly smaller than the eggplant rounds. Place 2 thin slices of
cheese between a pair of eggplant slices. Dip the sandwich in the
chickpea batter, lightly shake off the excess flour, then coat with
bread crumbs or semolina and set aside on waxed paper. Make all the
eggplant sandwiches in this way.
4. Heat ghee or
oil to a depth of ½ inch (1.5 cm) in a large heavy frying pan over
moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Place the sandwiches in
the pan and fry for 10-15 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is
fork-tender and nicely browned. Adjust the heat carefully: if the
temperature is too high, the cheese tends to burst through the
batter-crumb casing; if it is too low, the fritters absorb excessive
oil. Serve piping hot.