There is something sensuous about the texture of these panko eggplant delights – the crispy panko breadcrumbs encasing the velvety eggplant interior. Not unlike a perfectly cooked crumbed oyster, except vegetarian. The freshness of the mint yoghurt sauce and the green salad provided very complementary additions to this dish.
This crispy fried panko eggplant is very easy to make. And fast too, Although, you do need to start early enough to salt the eggplant in order to draw out the moisture. This time is also useful for the flavours in the mint yogurt sauce to meld.
Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family. This grouping also includes tomatoes, potatoes, red peppers, and chilis. They were first domesticated in South Asia and East Asia. In fact, one of my favourite South East Asian dishes is Grilled Eggplant (Cá nướng in Vietnam). That dish has inspired this grilled eggplant on soba noodles and this grilled eggplant with a málà sauce.
Eggplants are also a key ingredient of one of my favourite Southern Vietnamese noodle dishes, Bún mắm. Fermented fish is another key ingredient. So delicious. For a bún mắm inspired dish, check out this fermented fish consomme.
The textures in this panko eggplant dish make it a delight to eat. The crispy panko crumb coating surrounding the luscious cooked eggplant is truly sensuous, especially combined with the tasty mint yoghurt sauce.
Panko eggplant with mint yoghurt sauce
For the Panko Eggplant
- 2 medium sized eggplants
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
For the mint yoghurt sauce
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup mint leaves cleaned and stalks removed
- 5 cloves black garlic Substitute with roasted garlic
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Prepare the eggplant
- Cut the eggplants into 10mm thick rounds
- Lay eggplant rounds on a tray and sprinkle with half the salt
- Turn over and sprinkle with the remainder of the salt.
- Let sit for 45 minutes. The salt will draw moisture out of the eggplants.
Prepare the yoghurt dressing
- Peel the black garlic cloves and chop into quarters
- Combine the yogurt, mint, black garlic, lemon juice, and pepper.
- Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Test seasoning before serving, adding a pinch of salt if you think it is necessary.
Making the panko eggplant
- After the eggplant pieces have been sitting for 45 minutes, wash the salt off and pat dry with paper towels.
- Put the flour in one bowl together with the 1/2 tsp salt.
- In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.
- In a third bowl add the panko crumbs and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat the oil in a suitable frying pan over a medium heat.
- Dip a piece of eggplant into the flour, dusting off any excess.
- Then dip the eggplant piece into the egg mixture.
- Finally dip the eggplant piece into the panko crumbs.
- Repeat for the other pieces of eggplant.
- Fry 4 or 5 pieces of crumbed eggplant in the oil until golden – 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until the outside is golden, and the inside is custard like. You may need to experiment.
- Repeat until all the crumbed eggplant pieces are cooked.