Baingan Pakoras (deep Fried Eggplant)

Course : Indian
Serves: 6
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1 medium medium-size eggplant -- washed but not peeled cut in half lengthwise and each half sliced crosswise into 12 pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup besan -- (chick-pea flour)
1/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground hot red pepper
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying

Preparation / Directions:

Drop the eggplant into a bowl, sprinkle it with salt, and turn the pieces about with a spoon to coat them evenly. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Combine the chick-pea flour, rice flour, cumin and red pepper in a deep bowl and, when they are well mixed, pour in the water, stirring constantly. Pour 3 cups of vegetable oil into a 10-inch karhai or 12-inch wok, or fill a deep fryer with oil to a depth of 2 or 3 inches. Heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 350* on a deep-frying thermometer. Squeeze the eggplant pieces gently but firmly to remove as much of their moisture as possible. With tongs or a slotted spoon, dip one piece at a time into the batter and then drop it into the hot oil. Fry the eggplant in batches of 5 or 6 pieces for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. As they brown, transfer them to paper towels to drain. Baingan pakoras are traditionally served as a snack or as part of a meal.

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