Sri Lankans know their way around a vegetable, that is for sure. They can curry pretty much anything that holds still long enough, and offer you tasty goodies made from plants that you never imagined you'd eat.
A favorite salad is made from the local eggplant, a variety that is very similar to the long thin Japanese eggplant you might find in the groceries stateside. These eggplant are sliced thin and then crisp fried before being tossed with a tangy dressing of lime and fish sauce. I remade this favorite using the air fryer to crisp up the discs of eggplant. It took a while to get through the pile of slices, but the end result is super tasty.
Brinjal Salad (Sri Lankan Eggplant Salad)
Yield: 4 - 6 servings
1 kg Japanese eggplant (long and thin), cut on a bias into 1/4- to 1/3-inch discs
olive oil (in a spray can, if possible)
salt and pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced, soaked in a bowl of cool water to reduce the onion bite; drain well when ready to use
1 long thin chili, cut lengthwise in half and then in thin slices
4 Roma tomates, diced
1 medium bunch cilantro, chopped
few dashes fish sauce
1. Heat an air fryer to 400. In batches, cook the eggplant. Add as many eggplant slices as you can to be in a layer mostly one or two slices thick. Spray the slices with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Note: if you do not have an pil spray, you can also drizzle the slices with oil and toss them to distribute the oil well, and then season the slices before cooking). Air fry, turning halfway, for 13 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the air fryer to a large bowl. Repeat until all eggplant slices are cooked and nicely golden. Set aside until ready to make salad.
2. When ready to make salad, combine eggplant, drained onion slices, chili, tomato pieces and cilantro. Toss lightly to combine.
3. Squeeze one lime and several dashes fish sauce over the salad. Toss and taste. Add more lime, salt and pepper to taste.