Eggplant masala (with air-fryer eggplant) step-by-step recipe with photos.
Eggplant is a common vegetable used in Indian dishes. They are used to make curry, dal, or are just shallow-fried. One such common dish is ennegayi badnekayi (stuffed eggplant) which is a traditional North Karnataka style dish (recipe here). It is made with small round eggplants (called Thai eggplant). However, it is rather difficult to source good quality Thai eggplant in Melbourne. So I make them with the more commonly available larger eggplants.
Air-frying the eggplant
I am not a big fan of adding the eggplant cubes directly to this dish. So I air-fry them. I cut the eggplant into bite-sized cubes, and toss it with salt and turmeric. I then air-fry them until they get a char on it. Making them this way lends a unique flavour to the dish. Also, frying them in an air fryer is a great option if you want to use less amount of oil to make this dish.
The masala base is made with the spices, peanuts and coconut. The nutty taste combined with aromatic spices makes this dish very unique. Goes without saying, there are many versions of making this masala base and this is my family favourite.
Twist on classic stuffed eggplant
This is my twist on the classic stuffed eggplant dish. The masala base is the same as what is used in that dish but I am using large eggplants instead of small ones. Just chopping and adding the eggplant pieces will give it a rather bland taste. Tossing them with turmeric and salt, and air-frying them creates a golden char to them in turn giving them a deep-fried-like taste.
Key Notes to remember when making Eggplant Masala (with air-fryer eggplant)
- The time taken for the eggplant to cook varies with the air fryer. It also depends on the size of the eggplant pieces. Keep an eye after 6 or 7 minutes to see if it is done
- You may replace tamarind with 2 tsp tamarind paste
- You can add ginger and garlic along with other ingredients while grinding the masala paste
- You may use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut. In this case, roast the coconut as well along with other spices
This dish is:
- Made using less oil when compared to frying the eggplant in oil
For more recipes with eggplant as the main ingredient, click here.
Eggplant masala (with air-fryer eggplant) step-by-step recipe with photos
1. Rub salt and turmeric powder. Place in air-fryer basket
2. Air fry for 8-10 minutes at 180℃, flipping once after 5 minutes
3. Make the masala base
4. Prepare tempering and fry onions
5. Add ginger and garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes
6. Add the ground paste, tamarind water, salt, and jaggery. Add water and simmer
7. Simmer until the masala is cooked (about 5-7 minutes)
8. Add the air-fried eggplant and mix gently. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve
Eggplant Masala (with air-fryer eggplant)
FOR THE SPICE STUFFING: