Thursday, 18 January 2018

Lunch Box Surprise: Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmesan)

Eggplant parmigiana, also known as melanzane or eggplant parmesan, originated in the countryside of Italy (Campagnia, Sicily & Parma), famous for its parmesan cheese. It’s real comfort food, but this recipe is also relatively healthier as it is air-fried. You can also bake it or shallow fry it. Vegetarian parmesan cheese is available in many brands, but I recommend Sargentos for toppings or Alba parmesan cheese powder, which is really delicious.

Be creative and try this dish anytime you like. This is best served with green salad, and if you are a wine lover, red wine goes best, e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot etc. But since I don’t drink, I personally replace the wine with Ribena or cranberry juice! J

Here's the link:

Ingredients- note: this is just an estimate, as it depends on the qty of eggplant slices you use. I used 12.


12 slices eggplant, unpeeled (make sure it is sliced to ½ inch thick)

Batter as per nasi lemak recipe- I will send you a copy of that as well

½ cup breadcrumbs (or more)

Salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Pinch of dried Italian herbs

2 tsp (or more) parmesan cheese powder (containing non animal rennet)

About ¼ cup (or so) pizza sauce- I just used store bought

About 12 slices (180g) fresh buffalo milk mozzarella (brand I used is Zotarella; you can use Galbani’s- buffalo mozzarella is usually 100% vegetarian)

1-2 tbsp olive oil to drizzle

2-3 tbsp your choice of cooking oil (I use rice bran, as it has a higher flash point and is healthy)

5-6 leaves of fresh basil



1.      Preheat oven to 200 deg C (400 deg F or Gas Mark 5). For fan ovens, you should keep it at 180 deg C or equivalent.

2.      Prepare batter as per nasi lemak recipe I have sent to you. Keep aside.

3.      Prepare seasoned breadcrumbs. In a small plate, add breadcrumbs and to that, add your salt, pepper, Italian herbs and parmesan powder.

4.      Coat your eggplant in batter and then breadcrumbs.

5.      Freeze eggplants for about ½ hour or longer to hold shape

6.      Set air-fryer to 180 deg C, for about 15-20 mins. Drizzle eggplant with cooking oil and close. About halfway, shake the pan down as per instructions in the manual. Air-fry again till golden brown.

7.      Spoon a little sauce in the centre and top with a slice of mozzarella. Top with more breadcrumbs

8.       Drizzle olive oil on top.

9.      Bake in preheated oven for about 5 mins.

10.  Remove from oven and serve the way you like.




1)      Soak eggplant when not in use

2)      Baked version- bake at 200 deg C (400 deg F or Gas Mark 5). Fan oven- 180 deg C (or equivalent). You can even grill or shallow fry, otherwise normal fry. It's entirely up to you!

3)      Vegan version- use Daiya mozzarella cheese and your choice of vegan parmesan or you can use seasoned breadcrumbs only and make it a “cheezy crispy eggplant”

4)      Gluten free- use gluten free flour & breadcrumbs of your choice



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