Middle Eastern crispy eggplant

MasterChef Australia 2017 finalist, Karlie Verkerk, shares one of her favourite recipes from her time on the show, explaining, ‘I was so inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's visit to the MasterChef kitchen! This dish is a Middle Eastern version of my favourite Chinese dish called fish fragrant eggplant.’

  • 30 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print


Tahini sauce
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup date syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
Crispy eggplant
  • 2 x 350g eggplants
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 6 egg whites
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley salad
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • toasted and roughly ground farro
  • ground sumac


Middle Eastern crispy eggplant
  • 1
    Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C.
  • 2
    To make the tahini sauce; place all ingredients, along with 65ml water, in a bowl and mix to combine. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside until needed.
  • 3
    To make the crispy eggplant; peel and cut eggplant into 2cm cubes and set aside until needed.
  • 4
    In a medium bowl, mix together flour, semolina, and salt and pepper to taste. Place egg whites in a separate medium bowl and whisk to soft peaks.
  • 5
    Toss eggplant cubes in the whisked egg whites, then dredge in the flour and semolina mixture. Deep fry the eggplant until crispy and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Once golden, remove eggplant from the deep fryer and set aside to drain on paper towel until needed.
  • 6
    To make the parsley salad; pick leaves and place into a medium bowl. Chop stems of parsley into 2 cm lengths and add to the bowl along with the oil and lemon zest. Toss well to combine and set aside until needed.
  • 7
    To serve, spread tahini sauce in the base of serving bowl. Top with a pile of crispy eggplant and scatter over some toasted, ground farro and a sprinkle of sumac to garnish. Finish with parsley salad and serve.

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