Homemade Eggplant Fries: Crispy sticks of fried eggplant are one of my favorite side dishes. Relatively easy to make and perfect with a quick mint and yogurt dipping sauce! | macheesmo.com
Snack Time

Eggplant Fries

I’m usually incredibly skeptical of making fries out of anything other than potatoes.

Potatoes are just so good, so cheap, and so easy that I don’t usually see a reason to do anything different.

So, I’ll be honest.  I thought for sure that eggplant fries were going to be a debacle.  Eggplants are notorious for being a bit tricky to work with.  After all, it’s basically like cooking a big sponge.

I had no idea how this would end up, but they worked out being very good.  My main concern was that they wouldn’t be crispy on the outside (how do you crisp up a sponge after all?), but no worries there.  These crisped up beautifully and had a really soft and flavorful interior.

Turns out eggplants make some pretty solid fries!

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Yum

Eggplant Fries

How to make really crispy and delicious fries using eggplants!

Ingredients

2 large eggplants, cut into matchsticks and soaked in ice water
2 Cups rice flour or cornmeal
1 lemon, zest + 1 Tablespoon juice
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (opt.)
2 quarts oil, for frying
Dipping Sauce:
2 Cups yogurt
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, diced
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Helpful Equipment

thermometer
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Directions

1) Cut off ends of each eggplant and cut them into matchsticks.

2) Submerge eggplant fries for at least 30 minutes in ice cold water.  You might need to weigh them down for something.

3) Mix rice flour or cornmeal with other spices.

4) Mix dipping sauce if you’re using it.

5) Set up frying station and heat oil to 350 degrees.

6) When ready to fry, take a handful of fries out of water and move to rice flour mixture.  Coat lightly on each side.

7) Move immediately to fryer and fry for 4-5 minutes.

8) Remove fries and let drain for a minute on a paper towel.  Serve immediately!

Adapted from a Bon Appetit Recipe.

The Eggplant Situation

Eggplants can be kind of intimidating.  They are large and just kind of unwieldy.

They also have some strange properties.  They are spongy and oxidize quickly.  They can also be a bit bitter.

So, sometimes people get discouraged with them I think.  They require some basic knowledge to prepare and it’s easy to end up with a dish that’s just so-so.

But these fries are surprisingly easy to prepare actually.

Start by chopping off the ends of the eggplant and then cut them into matchsticks.  You could make these any size you want I guess, but I went for a large french fry size.

Eggplant Fries

Fry size.

The key step to making these fries work is to soak them in salted, cold water for at least 30 minutes before you try to fry them.

This is an important step.  It keeps them from oxidizing, it washes out some of the bitterness from the eggplant, and it also lets the eggplant soak up some of the water which is a good thing for this recipe.

The eggplant fries will actually float in a bowl of water, so feel free to use a plate or something to keep them submerged.

So, dice up the eggplant, soak them, and then forget about them.

EGgplant Fries.

A quick soak.

Other Ingredients

These fries were great on their own, but the original recipe recommended a dipping sauce so I figured I would make one.  I didn’t have all the ingredients for the original so I just mixed up one with yogurt, mint, and lemon.  It was delicious and the mint went perfectly with the eggplant!

Let’s talk breading. I’ve cooked these fries using two things over the years. Either rice flour or corn meal. Corn meal ends up being crunchier while rice flour has a finer texture and ends up being almost like tempura.

You can use either, but corn meal is probably easier to find.

Eggplant fries

The Mix.

 

Frying the Fries

When you’re ready to fry, heat up your frying station.  As always, I recommend using a deep fry thermometer for these guys.  You’ll want to heat your oil to between 325 and 350 degrees.

When your oil is hot, remove a few handfuls of fries from the water and toss them in the breading mixture!

Eggplant fries

Coated.

Toss them around a bit to get a light coating on each fry and then gently add them straight into the fryer!

These fries will need to fry for about 4-5 minutes.

Eggplant Fries

Done!

They should turn golden brown and be really crispy.

I was blown away at how good these turned out.

fries

Up close!

You’ll want to let them cool for a minute before biting into them.  The center of the fry is really creamy and delicious though.  Not bitter at all.

These were really good!

Betsy and I weren’t really in the mood for fried food on the particular day that we made these (the struggles of a food blogger), but once we had one, we proceeded to eat all of them.

Homemade Eggplant Fries: Crispy sticks of fried eggplant are one of my favorite side dishes. Relatively easy to make and perfect with a quick mint and yogurt dipping sauce! | macheesmo.com

Homemade Eggplant Fries: Crispy sticks of fried eggplant are one of my favorite side dishes. Relatively easy to make and perfect with a quick mint and yogurt dipping sauce! | macheesmo.com

17 comments on “Eggplant Fries

  1. I'm with Jessica, (almost) anything fried is bound to be good….it would definitely be interesting to try. Would they be more healthy than normal french fries? Do you think there would be a way to bake them and get a similar effect?

    1. I'm not sure baking would really work. I think eggplants are a bit healthier than potatoes (more nutrients?), but it's not huge. It's hard to make something healthy when it's fried in a vat of oil, but it's impossible to get these as crispy without doing so.

  2. These look delicious! I saw a similar recipe in Bon Appetit this month, so I'm thinking it's a sign to make these ASAP….

  3. Yumm-o! I wonder if I could "paleo-ify" by using coconut flour instead of rice flour. Of course, between that and baking instead of frying, I would probably turn this delightful-sounding recipe into a glob of eggplant worthy of the compost heap. Ah well. Yum just the same!
    My recent post NPR: What Women Really Want

    1. I wouldn't. You don't want them completely dry or no rice flour would stick. Just let them drip off any water and the flour will absorb the rest.

      You could let them drain for a second or two on a towel, but I wouldn't dry them off completely.

      Good luck!

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