Baiganee (eggplant fritters)

Baiganee is a Trinidadian delicacy. It is made by covering slices of eggplant with a tasty batter which is then deep fried. The batter is made with split peas powder or ground dhal. Split peas powder adds a delicious flavour and does not need much additional flavouring. Minimal spices are added to enhance and compliment the flavour of the ground dhal in the batter. Split peas powder also makes the batter very crispy when fried. Yum!

Firstly, the eggplant is sliced and salted. Just a sprinkle of salt makes the eggplant ‘sweat’. The eggplant releases liquids and easily sheds its seeds. This is supposed to draw out the bitterness in the vegetable.

However, since I use fresh, young eggplant it is never very bitter. Some recipes for baiganee involve soaking the sliced eggplant in salted water for at least an hour. You can cut out that prep time by using fresh produce. Other recipes advise that you rinse the salt off of the eggplant. I prefer to add a sprinkle of salt and leave the salt out of my batter altogether. This creates a much tastier result. You end up with a creamy, melt in your mouth, slice of eggplant that is also very tasty – all enveloped in a delicious and crispy casing.


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Golden Baiganee.

Ingredients

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup split peas powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin (geera)

1/4 teaspoon saffron powder

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 leaves of shadon beni, minced

1 cup of water

1 medium sized eggplant

salt to taste

oil for frying

Method

  1. Slice baigan into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix the flour, split peas powder, baking powder, cumin, saffron, garlic, shadon beni and water. You should get a thick paste, not too runny. Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Coat baigan slices with the batter and fry in medium high heat until golden brown.
  4. Drain and serve with chutney.

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Baiganee sliced and served.

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