Prep 45 mins
Cook 30 mins
This is a fusion recipe my mother invented when we were growing up. She wanted an eggless method for "breading" the eggplant and therefore made Indian-style pakoras (fritters) from slices of skinny chinese eggplant, then baked them into a yummy casserole with cheese and marinara sauce, which was then served warm in fresh sub rolls. It is always a big hit with our relatives and friends. I enjoy these with a handful of potato chips tucked into my freshly made sandwich.
- 3 Chinese eggplants, 1/4 inch slices
- 1 cup chickpea flour (also known as besan or gram flour)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
- water (for making the batter)
- deep frying oil
- 1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- pickled jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
- 6 rolls (french or italian sub style)
- Combine the chickpea flour, salt and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whisk in enough water (little by little) until the mixture's consistency resembles a thick pancake batter.
- Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
- Dip a few eggplant slices in the batter to coat them, then carefully drop them into the oil and fry till golden and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined pan.
- Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices, working in batches, until all are fried. Note: The batter may thicken upon standing, so add a little water to thin it as you go, if required.
- While the eggplant fritters are cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Grease (or coat with nonstick spray) an 8x8 oven-safe baking dish.
- Put a 1/4 inch layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish.
- Add a single layer of eggplant slices.
- Top with another layer of sauce, then a few sprinkles of parmesan, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and/or jalapenos (if using), and a layer of shredded mozzarella.
- Repeat layers as above until all the eggplant slices are used, or the pan is full (whichever happens first). Leftover slices can be enjoyed plain with marinara sauce for dipping, or frozen for use when making this casserole again.
- Top the final layer with additional sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly.
- Split the rolls lengthwise, leaving a closed edge or "hinge" on one side.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup of the eggplant casserole into each roll (can be more or less depending on the size of your rolls).
- Serve with potato chips.
- Notes: The egplant fritters can be made in advance and frozen until you are ready to make the casserole. The baked casserole can also be frozen in smaller portions and reheated to make just one or two sandwiches.
- The measurements listed are approximate -- you may not end up using the entire quantity of cheese or sauce, for example, or, depending on your eggplant size, you may want to use a 9x13 pan instead of 8x8.