Go to any Greek restaurant in Greece and one of the classic mezes you can order is fried aubergines (eggplants, to our American friends) and courgettes. They are a delicious alternative to chips, extremely easy to make and vegan.
The secret here is to leave the sliced aubergine in cold water for a few minutes. It gets rid of its bitter flavour and adds a sweetness to the taste.
This recipe comes from our very good friend, Maria Panieraki, from the island of Crete.
3 large aubergines
1 cup plain flour
1 cup water
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Cut the aubergines into thin slices, about 0.5cm thick. Put them in a bowl full of salted water for about half an hour, to remove their slightly bitter flavour.
2) After half an hour, place the aubergines in a strainer to drain the water.
3) Add one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper to the flour and mix well.
4) Gradually add the water and mix with a fork to make the batter. It should be neither too thick nor too thin.
5) Dip the aubergine slice in the batter, grab it with a fork and lift it a little to remove the excess batter. Place it in a frying pan with hot extra virgin olive oil.
6) Repeat until the pan is full. When they crisp and brown nicely in one side, turn them over and fry the other side.
7) When ready, place the aubergines in an absorbent kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Serve with Greek yoghurt or tzatziki.