Fried Eggplant Rolls With Walnut-Garlic Filling (Badrijani N
1 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground coriander, or more as needed
¼ teaspoons ground fenugreek, or more as needed
¼ teaspoons kosher salt, or more as needed, plus more for salting the eggplant
Small pinch cayenne pepper, or more as needed
½ cups 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)
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
pomegranate seeds (arils), for garnish (optional)
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.