Middle Eastern Za’atar Crumbed Eggplant Chips

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant chips

Finding whole food snacks on my quest to avoid processed foods has been challenging. I usually reach for carrot sticks and the always present bowl of homemade hummus in the fridge for snacking emergencies. When I’m not hungry, just peckish, I make kale chips.

Today however, I had the munchies, bad.

Do you know that feeling when you feel like something but just can’t put your finger on what you actually want? You pace the kitchen, check the fridge, then the pantry, then the fridge again just in case something magically appeared that wasn’t there 4 seconds ago?

There was an eggplant in the crisper, stale bread on the bench and a bag of zaa’tar in the pantry.

Bingo!

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Middle Eastern Za’atar Crumbed Eggplant Chips

  • 1 large eggplant (aubergine)
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • ¾ cup bread or panko crumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup za’atar spice mix*
  • Sea salt
  • Olive Oil or spray

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Trim the ends of the eggplant and discard. Slice the eggplant into 2 cm thick slices then across to make ‘chips’.

Pour the flour, bread/panko crumbs and eggs into separate bowls. Combine 1 tablespoon of za’atar into the beaten eggs, then 1 tablespoon za’atar into the breadcrumb bowl and another tablespoon za’atar into the flour bowl.

First the flour

First the flour…

...then the egg mix

…then the egg mix

and finally the breadcrumbs

and finally the breadcrumbs

Toss the eggplant chips into the flour, dunk them into the egg mix and finally into the breadcrumb bowl. Sprinkle any remainder za’atar spice mix over the top.

Lay the coated eggplant chips onto a baking tray, spray lightly with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt flakes while they’re hot.

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant aubergine chips

To serve, combine a simple yoghurt dip by combining natural Greek style yoghurt, olive oil, dried mint and a sprinkle of paprika.

The nature of eggplant means these chips won’t stay crispy for long, so devour immediately and satisfy those cravings!!

*Za’atar is a spice mix found in all Middle Eastern specialty stores, and now in most deli’s and supermarkets. Za’atars fragrant and tangy mix contains dried wild thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.

Za'atar spice mix

Za’atar spice mix

**If you’re not feeling adventurous enough to try Za’atar, you could easily transform this dish from Middle Eastern to Italian by substituting za’atar with fresh parmesan cheese.

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant chips

Smelly, flavoursome Shanklish

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Ever walked around your fancy delicatessen and seen something you have no idea what to do with?

I love deli’s. There is a smoky, salty smell that hovers over the counters and isles from the pork laden meat cuts to the mouldy creamy cheeses.

One of my favourite varieties of cheese is Shanklish.
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Shank What?!! I hear you say

Shanklish is a salty pasteurised Cow or Sheep’s milk based cheese, similar to feta in consistency that is rolled into balls and covered in dried herbs, (usually Zaatar or thyme) smokey paprika and chilli that is then left to age and dry. It is very common in Middle Eastern cuisine and is served in Restaurants as a mezze or antipasto option.

So what do you do with Shanklish? I like to unwrap the ball and smash it with my fork into little pieces until its flaky. Add some diced ripe tomatoes and shallots and drizzle it with lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is traditionally mopped up with soft delicious Lebanese Bread
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So tell me dear reader, what deli item would you like to brave and buy one day, but you’re not quite sure how you should use it?