Eggplant Chile Cheese Toast
By Vasudha Viswanath
Chile cheese toast is probably one of India’s top five street food creations. Here we reimagine the recipe and sneak in vegetables by using eggplant slices as “toast” and topping them with the spiced cheese filling. Note that the eggplant “toast” will have some crunchiness where the batter crisps up, but will still be soft compared to actual toast.
¼ cup/30g chickpea flour
3 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp avocado oil, or other neutral oil of choice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ large eggplant/aubergine (9 oz/250g), widest part sliced into 4 flat discs about ¾ inch/2cm thick
CHILE CHEESE TOPPING
¼ cup/28g grated Cheddar cheese
¼ cup/28g grated low-moisture mozzarella
2 Indian green chiles, jalapeño peppers, or Thai chiles, chopped and seeded to adjust spice level to taste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro/fresh coriander, for garnish
Step 1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the batter and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
Step 2. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/200°C or the oven to 450°F/235°C.
Step 3. Brush the eggplant slices with batter on both sides. Lay the eggplant flat on the base and airfry, until golden brown and dry on both sides, for 10 minutes, then flip using tongs and air fry 2 more minutes. (I can do two slices at a time in my air fryer, so I repeat this step for the remaining slices; yours may be larger). If using the oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplant slices on it. Bake on one side for 13–15 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for 3–5 minutes.
Step 4. As the eggplant cooks, mix all the ingredients for the chile cheese topping in a bowl.
Step 5. Sprinkle the cheese topping on the eggplant slices in the air fryer and air fry again for 1 1/2 minutes, or bake for 2–3 minutes, until the cheese has completely melted. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Reprinted with permission from THE VEGETARIAN RESET by Vasudha Viswanath, The Collective Book Studio, January 2023. Photo credit Alexandra Shytsman. Vasudha Viswanath is the founder of We Ate Well, a community for foodies that focuses on eating mindfully and sustainably on a vegetarian diet. After a doctor’s note about her elevated blood sugar, she transformed the way she cooks to cut out excessive starch and sugar and has never felt better. After spending over a decade on Wall Street, Vasudha left her career in finance to write a cookbook and create We Ate Well.