Crispy Smoked Aubergine & Chickpea Fritters

I took the idea from baba ganoush (mutabal) and wondered if I could turn a dip into a burger or fritter. The addition of chickpeas gives the fritters some texture which allows them to hold their shape when fried, while the breadcrumbs create a deliciously crispy coating. The trick here is to only turn them once while frying. That way they stand a better chance of staying whole

Serve as part of a mezze of sharing dishes

Makes about 6-8 small fritters for 2 people

1 medium aubergine
2 tablespoons tahini
120g chickpeas (half a drained 400g tin)
2-3 tablespoons gram flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
10g parsley – finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Panko breadcrumbs
Sunflower oil for frying

Prick the aubergine a few times then place directly onto a gas flame, or place under a hot grill. It’s important you prick the aubergine else it may explode. Turn occasionally until the skin has blackened and the flesh is very soft. The aubergine should almost feel like it is going to collapse if you squeeze it gently with some tongs. Remove from the heat and leave to cool

When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the burnt skin

Place everything except the breadcrumbs and oil into a food processor and pulse several times until you have a rough, textured mix. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash everything together with a fork, breaking up the chickpeas as you mash, or use a large pestle and mortar

Spread some of the breadcrumbs on a plate, then take a tablespoon of the mix and place on the crumbs. Flatten it a little then flip over gently to coat the other side. Lay the breaded fritters on a lined plate

Heat about 2cm of oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the fritters, taking care not to crowd the pan Fry on one side for around 2-3 minutes until golden and crisp, then gently flip and do the same on the other side

Serve hot with garlic yogurt or a spicy chili sambal


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