Eggplant is a true chameleon, constantly adapting to different flavours. Spices transform its bland constitution and the texture alters radically depending on whether you grill, fry or roast it. You’re always told to remove the water from eggplant before frying and many recipes advise salting to weep the juices out. Well, my advice is the exact opposite. These eggplants soak in water (my mother taught me that trick) to keep them plump while frying, resulting in supremely crisp, spiced-crusted nibbles.
Cut the tops off the eggplants and cut them lengthways into 2 cm (¾ inch) slices. Cut each slice into 2 cm (¾ inch) wide sticks. Submerge the sticks in a large bowl of cold water and soak for 1 hour.
Combine the flour and spices in a shallow bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a wok or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. The oil will be hot enough if a small piece of eggplant sizzles instantly when dropped in. Take the eggplant sticks directly from the water and dip each one thoroughly in the flour mixture, coating well. Shake off the excess flour and fry 4-6 sticks at a time for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
Arrange the eggplant sticks on a platter, drizzle with honey and scatter with parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
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