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Author Notes: This is fried eggplant like you’ve never tasted before—crispy on the outside from the panko and flavorful from the Middle Eastern spices.
—The Weiser Kitchen
Shawarma Spice Mix
- 1/4 cup granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Urfa pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kizmiri pepper
- Combine the dry spices in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Crispy Fried Eggplant
- 2 large firm eggplants (about 1 to 1¼ pounds each)
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup of dry spices from the above Shawarma Spice mix, divided
- 2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
- 5 large egg whites
- 3 teaspoons water
- 2 cups olive oil
- 2 cups canola oil
- Peel the eggplant and remove the stem end. Slice lengthwise, ( the long way) into slices between ¼ and ½ inch thick. You should get 8 slices per eggplant. Place the slices on a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Coat the eggplant with the 3 tablespoons of salt and set aside.
- In a shallow dish pie dish or bowl, mix the chickpea flour, flour, half of the shawarma spice mix, and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. In a separate shallow pie dish or bowl, lightly beat the egg whites and water. Set next to the flour mixture dish. Place the panko breadcrumbs and remaining shawarma spice mix into another shallow pie dish or bowl and stir to combine. Set the panko mixture next to the egg mixture. Position the three plates near the stove. Line a large platter with paper towels and place it on the other side of the stove.
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or deep, straight-sided saucepan and set over medium heat to 365°F to 375°F.
- While the oil is heating, wash the eggplant well, rinsing each piece in cold water to remove the salt and any brown liquid that has exuded.
- Place 2 moist eggplant slices in the flour mixture and coat evenly and completely, shaking off any excess. Dip each slice into the egg mixture and then into the panko mixture, making sure to coat completely. Carefully place the eggplant slices into the preheated oil, one at a time, without overcrowding the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned, turn with tongs, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is browned. Remove and drain them on the paper-towel-lined platter. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, working in batches of no more than 2 pieces at a time.