Baijan bhaja

by Chetna Makan

Aubergine pakoras from demo chef Chetna Makan


1 aubergine
½ tsp chilli powder
Sunflower oil, for deep-frying

For the batter:
150g gram (chickpea) flour
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric


Cut the aubergine vertically into thin slices with a thickness of no more than 5mm. Rub the flesh with ½ tsp salt and chilli powder, then leave to stand for 10 mins. (This helps to release excess moisture in the aubergine flesh.)

To make the batter, combine the gram flour, ¾ tsp salt and spices in a bowl, then gradually add 300ml water to form a smooth batter with a thin coating consistency.

Heat enough oil for deep frying in a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan (ensuring the pan is no more than one-third full) to 190C. Line a plate with some kitchen paper.

Working with 1 slice of aubergine at a time, press it between two sheets of kitchen paper to extract excess moisture, then dip the slice in the batter, add it to the hot oil and fry for 1 min on each side, until deep golden brown and crispy.

Transfer to the paper-lined plate and leave to drain excess oil while you fry the remaining aubergine slices. Season with sea salt flakes and serve hot with chutney.

Recipe: Chetna Makan 
Image: Nassima Rothacker and Keith James