Eggplant is a staple for me as a vegetarian. I love eggplant parm subs, ratatouille (eggplant stew), baba ghanoush (smoky eggplant dip), and just about anything else involving eggplant; eggplant fries are no exception. Crispy and light on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, my eggplant fries really are just perfect.
Yes, they are deep-fried, which may seem intimidating, but deep-frying is actually a super simple process if you have the right equipment and a little organization. I like to use my trusty wok as a deep-fryer. Its wide shape and high-heat tolerance make it a great fryer. For safely moving the fries to and from the oil, I use an open weave metal skimmer spoon (like this one). Finally, I set up an assembly line right next to the stove… bowl of cut eggplant, bowl of seasoned flour and cornstarch, paper towel lined baking sheet for when the eggplant comes out of the fryer. If you’ve got this same setup going, I can assure you, it’s super easy. Eight or so batches of fries, each cooking for only about 4 minutes, means you’re finished and ready to eat in under forty-five minutes.
The trick to these fries is soaking the raw eggplant sticks in ice water before cooking. I’ve soaked them for just an hour before and they were amazing. But they can soak for up to 12 hours too, so I can actually get the prep out of the way ahead of time and soak the eggplant until I’m ready to fry.
There are a lot of options for dipping sauces. In fact, you really don’t even need a sauce for these fries. But I’m a fan of dipping so I’ll usually serve them with a little something. I like tzatziki sauce because lemon goes really well with eggplant, and the lightness of the sauce pairs perfectly with the richness of the fries. You could also try remoulade, marinara sauce, or honey mustard, all of which would be delish.
Serve these up with a simple grilled portobello mushroom burger or a fresh salad for a well-rounded dinner. Or use them as a crowd-pleasing appetizer at any party (football season is coming!). Whatever you do, you won’t be disappointed.
Light and Crispy Eggplant Fries Serves: 4-6 Start to Finish: 1 hr (not incl. soaking time) Ingredients 1 Eggplant (approx. 1 pound) Ice Water 1/2 cup Cornstarch 1/2 cup Flour 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, fine grain (plus more) 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon paprika Canola Oil, for frying Tzatziki Sauce, for serving (get my easy recipe here!) To Make Cut the eggplant width wise into 1/2 inch disks. Cut each disc into 1/2 inch strips. Add raw fries to a large bowl of ice water. Set a plate on top of the water to weigh the eggplant down under the water. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 12 hours. While eggplant soaks, make tzatziki sauce and make the eggplant breading. For breading, combine cornstarch, flour, 1 tsp salt, garlic powder, and paprika in a large bowl. When eggplant is finished soaking, drain water completely. Add 2-3 inches of oil to wok, pan, or deep fryer. Heat oil over medium high heat (about 325 degrees). Set up assembly line next to stove...bowl of eggplant then bowl of breading then fryer. Also have a paper towel lined baking sheet at the ready for when the fries come out of the oven. In batches of 6-8 fries, toss moist fries in breading to coat. Add coated fries to hot oil using skimmer. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until browned and crispy. Remove fries with skimmer and place on baking sheet to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with salt. Continue frying in batches until all strips are fried. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping. Reheat/re-crisp in oven if needed.