This air fryer eggplant recipe is easy, convenient, and packed with flavor - and the best part is, there is no breading involved. With just a few simple ingredients and minimal prep time, you can create a delicious and crispy side dish that is suitable for a variety of dietary requirements. Perfect for busy weeknights or as part of a larger meal, this air fryer eggplant is sure to become a new favorite in your recipe collection.
About this recipe
Begun Bhaja, also known as fried eggplant, is a Bengali side dish that's easy to make with just 4 simple ingredients, including salt. The combination of crispy texture and savory flavor makes this eggplant dish truly delightful. The fried eggplant slices are absolutely mouthwatering with an addictive taste that's hard to resist.
While this dish is a popular favorite, it can be quite heavy and greasy due to the deep-frying process. This recipe of mine is inspired by the traditional Bengali dish, but with a modern twist that makes it healthier by using less oil and a more convenient option. You will achieve similar crispy eggplant slices with delicious flavor but without the need for excessive oil or breading.
This air fryer eggplant is not only a healthier alternative, but it's also suitable for a variety of dietary requirements, including low carb, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and nut-free. Whether you enjoy it with rice and dal or pair it with a main dish like dalia khichdi for a complete meal, this easy and versatile dish is sure to become a staple in your recipe collection.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Healthier alternative: By using an air fryer, this recipe significantly reduces the amount of oil needed to achieve a crispy texture, making it a healthier option for those who want to indulge in fried eggplant without guilt.
- Easy and convenient: The recipe is simple and easy to follow, requiring just a few ingredients and minimal prep time. No bread crumbs or additional ingredients are required.
- Customizable: I have provided variations to this basic recipe to allow you to adapt and make it your own.
Eggplant: Use large, oval globe eggplant with shiny and glossy skin. Read the FAQs below to see how to select the eggplant.
Oil: I use olive oil to make them. However, it can be replaced with any cooking oil of your choice.
Salt and turmeric: The eggplant slices are seasoned with salt and turmeric.
Step 1: Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Cut them into discs of ¼ inch thickness. Pat dry using paper towels to remove any excess water and moisture (image 1).
Step 2: Transfer the eggplant rounds to a bowl and sprinkle salt and turmeric powder (image 2). Add oil and rub them well making sure all the slices are coated (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Brush a little oil on the air fryer basket. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Air fry for 10-12 minutes. The cooking time can vary depending on the air fryer so keep an eye out after 7-8 minutes (images 7 and 8).
The recipe I am sharing here is the classic version and uses just salt and turmeric as seasoning. Here are some delicious variations you can add to give it a twist.
Spicy: Make a spicy version of these chips by tossing the classic chips in some chili powder or black pepper.
Tandoori masala: Add one teaspoon of tandoori masala to give it a smoky flavor. Top with fresh cilantro or fresh parsley and enjoy air-fried eggplant slices.
Chili lime: Toss some chili powder with the seasoning and add lime juice just before serving to make a spicy-tangy version.
Cheese garlic: Use garlic powder along with oil and other seasonings and air fry the eggplants until they are done. Top with mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese and air fry until the cheese melts.
Rice flour: Add 1-2 tablespoons of rice flour along with other seasonings. This will create a crunchy coating on the eggplants. Make sure to rub the rice flour well and there are no dry bits. Adding 1 tablespoon extra oil will ensure the eggplant slices are well coated.
Pizza bites: Spread marinara sauce on the eggplant slices and top with Italian seasoning and cheese. Air fry as per this recipe. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy healthy pizza bites.
Cut the eggplants into even-sized discs to ensure they are cooked at the same time. You may also cut them into thick fingers similar to fries.
It is important to preheat the air fryer for 2 minutes before brushing the oil. Do not skip this step. Preheating will ensure the eggplant slices do not stick to the basket.
Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer and air fry it in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
The time taken for the eggplants to be cooked depends on the air fryer and also the size of the eggplant. Keep an eye out after 7-8 minutes.
More eggplant recipes
Use eggplants that have smooth and glossy skin. If the skin is dull, the eggplant is not fresh and may have a lot of seeds. The eggplant should feel slightly heavy for its size and should be firm. When you cut the eggplant, it should have white flesh. Fresh eggplant will have minimal seeds. As the eggplant matures, the seeds increase and if an eggplant has too many seeds, it may be unusable.
For this dish, you can cut the eggplant either into round discs or thick fingers (like fries). I prefer to cut them into ¼-inch slices.
While it is not necessary, you can do it.
They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat, place them in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes at 375 F (190 C).
Use large purple eggplants to make this dish. I have not tried them with any other variety.
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Air Fryer Eggplant (No Breading)
- Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut them into ¼-inch discs. Pat dry them with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Transfer them to a bowl and add turmeric powder and salt.
- Add oil and rub them well making sure all the slices are coated.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 F (190 C) for 2 minutes. Brush a few drops of oil on the air fryer basket.
- Place the eggplant slices in a single layer.
- Air fry for 10-12 minutes or until they are well-cooked and golden brown. Keep an eye after 7-8 minutes.
- Air fryer eggplant is ready to be served.