Fried Eggplant Rolls With Walnut-Garlic Filling (Badrijani Nigvzit) 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Mar 4, 2015

Choose straight eggplants whose bottoms are not significantly larger than their tops for this recipe, as they yield more-uniform slices. Slender Chinese eggplants work well and are the type most commonly found in Georgia.

Make Ahead: The filling benefits from a few hours' rest in the refrigerator. The salted eggplant slices need to sit for 30 minutes. The filling can be made up to 3 days in advance (and should ideally be made a day ahead of serving). The eggplant can be fried 1 day before serving. Store the filling and eggplant, separate and covered, in the refrigerator. It's best to assemble the rolls no more than a couple of hours before serving.

Where to Buy: Ground fenugreek imparts a faint, pleasantly bitter depth to the filling of these rolls and is worth seeking out. It can be purchased in small quantities from stores that sell bulk spices such as Whole Foods, found in Indian, Persian, and Middle Eastern grocery stores, or purchased at Penzeys.com.


Servings:
6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed, plus more for salting the eggplant
  • Small pinch cayenne pepper, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 medium globe eggplants or 10 Chinese eggplants
  • Canola oil or grapeseed oil, for frying
  • Crackers, for serving (optional)
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (arils), for garnish (optional)

Directions

Combine the walnuts, garlic, vinegar, coriander, fenugreek, salt, cayenne pepper and water in a food processor; puree until fairly smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as desired. If you have time, chill for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Trim off and discard the tops of the eggplants (but do not peel them). Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Salt the eggplant slices generously and let them stand for 30 minutes, then press out any dark juices, rinse and pat dry; this will help minimize bitterness.

Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add just enough of the eggplant so as not to overcrowd the pan. Brown on both sides, adding oil as necessary to prevent the eggplant from sticking or burning. Transfer to the lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Repeat, working in batches, until all the slices have been fried.

Spread a layer of filling on one side of each fried eggplant slice, then roll up tightly to enclose the filling.

Serve as is, or on crackers, if you like. Scatter fresh cilantro, thinly sliced red onion and/or pomegranate seeds over the rolls before serving, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Jenny Holm, who blogs at GeorgianTable.com.

Tested by Nilar Andrea Chit Tun.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.