DO­MES­TIC DILEM­MAS

Don’t be daunted by that diva de­meanour – Fri­day’s very own chef Sil­vena Rowe is happy to an­swer all your kitchen queries

Friday - - Domestic Diva -

Q I re­cently ate a salad that in­cluded pan-fried slices of au­bergine. When I tried to make it at home, my au­bergine slices not only soaked up a lot of oil, but turned out soggy. Where did I go wrong?

A Au­bergine soaks up a lot of oil when shal­low-fried or even deep-fried. So it’s im­por­tant to slice it and then scat­ter the slices with a coarse salt, set­ting them aside for about 30 min­utes, to al­low ex­cess mois­ture to drain out. Rinse the slices well un­der run­ning wa­ter to get rid of ex­cess salt and then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Now your au­bergine is ready to use.

If you plan on shal­low-fry­ing the au­bergine, brush olive oil on one side of each slice and place them oil-side down in a very hot skillet or fry­ing pan. You don’t need to add oil to the skillet. The heat will seal any left­over mois­ture in the au­bergine, en­sur­ing you get a crispy, brown fin­ish.

Just be­fore you flip the slices over to cook the other side, brush oil on the up-sides. If you were to brush oil on both sides at the very begin­ning, then the au­bergine slices would sim­ply soak it up and you’d end up with soggy aubergines. Let the other sides brown and then re­move from the pan. Don’t lower the heat at any point.

Don’t crowd the pan with too many slices at once, as that would lower the tem­per­a­ture of the pan and again pro­duce a soggy re­sult.

To deep-fry au­bergine, en­sure the oil is smok­ing hot. The heat of the oil seals in the mois­ture, browns the sur­face of the veg­etable quickly and gives you au­bergine that is not too greasy.

Q Any ideas for left­over smoothie? I have about half a glass in my fridge and I don’t want to throw it away.

It’s im­por­tant to salt the au­bergine to re­move ex­cess mois­ture and get a crisp, golden slice

A There’s lots you can do with it. Pour it into an ice-cube tray and add the cubes to le­mon­ade for ex­tra colour and taste. De­li­cious. Or pour it into small pa­per cups, put a pop­si­cle stick in and freeze. Kids will love these.

If the smoothie is fruit based, then you can pour it over a freshly baked sponge cake. Al­low the cake to soak up the flavours from the smoothie be­fore you slice it. Trust me, this is de­li­cious.

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