How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil

How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.com

Do you love fried eggplant, but hate that it soaks up oil as it cooks? My husband grew up eating fried eggplant slices, it’s one of his favorite simple meals. For years I avoided cooking them due to the amount of oil needed for them to cook through; I replaced the fried slices with roasted eggplant pieces in many dishes (those roasted pieces are great by the way!). But there were times when he craved the fried taste and texture from his childhood. Trouble is, eggplant acts like a sponge in oil, even when the oil is the perfect temperature for frying. Well guess what? You CAN fry eggplant in oil without it turning soggy or greasy! The secret? Egg whites! Hey, it works for pie crust, doesn’t it??

I’ve run through the basic concept below. This method has consistently given me perfect, golden brown slices of fried eggplant while minimizing the amount of oil needed for a great result. The only thing you need to watch out for is splattering… wear an apron, and be aware that in the first 60 seconds of frying there may be a few little splatters here and there.

Those of you who love eggplant will adore this recipe. If you try it, let me know how it works for you! And one more tip… I love to serve the fresh, hot fried slices topped with tahini sauce and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Toasted pine nuts are a nice touch as well. Highly recommended!

P.S. I am on vacation right now and I forgot to upload the step-by-step photos for this post (whoops!), but it’s a pretty simple preparation. I’ve described the steps in detail below, and I’ll be sure to upload the step-by-step pics as soon as I get home!

How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.com

How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 whole eggplant, 1 lb. (medium sized)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • Grapeseed oil, or another oil with a high smoke point for frying

You will also need

  • Nonstick skillet
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Varies - about 10-12 slices per 1 lb. eggplant
  • Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. Place the rounds in a colander and sprinkle them with salt (sea salt, kosher salt, any kind of salt will work). Make sure each eggplant round has a thin sprinkling of salt on it. Let the slices sit for 20-30 minutes till beads of liquid form on the surface. This process helps to remove any bitterness that may be present in the eggplant. Note that if you're using smaller eggplant pieces here, like Japanese eggplant, they are very rarely bitter and likely will not need salting. I usually use a medium-sized eggplant in this preparation because I like the size of the slices it produces for frying.
  • How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.comRinse the eggplant pieces thoroughly to remove the salt. Pat dry and spread out on a cutting board. Sprinkle the eggplant slices lightly with salt (the salt from the colander will be mostly gone after rinsing; if you're salt sensitive, you can skip adding salt at this point and add to taste after frying). Sprinkle the slices lightly with black pepper (also optional, but recommended). Whisk the two egg whites in a small bowl for about 60 seconds. Brush the seasoned eggplant slices with a THIN layer of egg white, making sure the entire white surface of the slice is coated. Turn the slices and brush the other side with another thin layer of egg white, so all white surfaces of the slices are covered with egg white.
  • How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.comHeat 1/4 inch of grapeseed oil in a nonstick skillet over medium till hot enough for frying. The ideal temperature for frying eggplant is about 365-375 degrees F. The best way to monitor the temperature is to use a deep fry or candy thermometer; or, you can drop a small piece of bread into the oil. If it takes 60 seconds to brown, the oil temperature is perfect for frying. Note: once you've mastered this process, you can heat up the oil while you're brushing the eggplant slices with egg white to save on time!
  • Place 3 slices gently into the hot oil (do not cook more than 3-4 slices per batch, or the oil temperature will drop). Careful, it may splatter a bit, especially during the first minute or so of cooking. Let the slices fry for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown.
  • How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.comRemove slices from the hot oil and drain on a drying rack or paper towel. Before I knew this tip, I would have to replenish the oil in the skillet every two batches or so. After learning this tip, there is enough oil for many more batches even after frying a whole eggplant. How fabulous is that??
  • How to Fry Eggplant with Less Oil - Learn to fry eggplant slices perfectly golden crisp, without getting soggy, on ToriAvey.com

Comments (84)Post a Comment

  1. Thank you!!! I have stopped frying for a while because of the sponge effect. When I get back to my kitchen, this will be one of the first techniques to try and master.

    1. Ilke, I’m really amazed at how well it works. It’s totally changed the way I cook eggplant! Let me know if you get a chance to try it.

  2. i grill my eggplant. punch a couple of holes in it with a fork. grill (or bake) until it collapses in on itself turning every 10 min or so if baking. remove from teh skin and serve

  3. Hey tori, you were right about the poppy seeds cake. Mine went down well, thank you. BUT. Heard on the news that inmates in a British prison had poppy seeds baked into their bread including the officers and they all proved positive for opiates! How funny x

  4. How clever you are! I do my pie shells with egg white before I fill them he cause I hate soggy crust. So clever of you to figure that out with the eggplant! Im gonna try that with squash and green tomato’s too!

  5. Two?s…just trying to understand. With the oil to the right temperature , you fry it, and then drain it on paper towels or a rack. How does that limit the replenishing of oil, or is it the egg white coating that somehow helps?
    Also, what about using another oil, such as pure (T.J) olive oil? Or would other oils work as well? Thanks.

    1. Sharon, the draining step is only to get rid of any residual surface oil. The egg white coating keeps the oil from soaking into the eggplant slice, so you get a less oily and greasy result. If you’ve ever fried eggplant before, you’ll know that the eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge… this technique helps to eliminate that problem. I recommend grapeseed, avocado, sesame or peanut oil for frying, they have a higher smoke point than olive oil and will yield a better result.

    1. Hi Karen, breading will soak up more oil than the simple egg white coating, but less than the eggplant alone without any coating at all. The best way to ensure that your breading does not turn out greasy is to make sure that you are frying with oil at the proper temperature. See the tips in this post re: oil temperature.

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    In the south of Spain they serve fried eggplant with a drizzle of honey. It’s surprisingly delicious as a tapas dish!

  7. Why only egg whites? We coat the eggplant with the yolk and the white for generations (Turkish/Jewish culture). The outcome is the same, and less of a waste of eggs.

    1. Hi Rina, the whole idea of coating the eggplant in egg white is to provide a barrier between the oil and the eggplant, in order to keep the oil from soaking into the eggplant– this makes it a lighter option to simply frying the slices. A lot of people will prefer the egg whites because it is a lighter, lower calorie option to using whole eggs. However, using the yolk is also an option. :)

  8. Love eggplant but highly allergic to eggs. Hopefully their is an alternative that can achieve the same result.
    Love your recipes and the history corner. Bravo Tory!!

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