Main Meals

Nashville-style hot brinjals

4 – 6
25 minutes
15 minutes

“One thing about South Africans – we love our chicken spicy. Nashville is known for just that – chicken packed with HEAT, topped with a generous drizzling of spicy sauce. This dish has all the spice and flavour, just without the chicken. Serve it with white bread and pickles for a classic Nashville pairing.”
– Zandile Finxa

Wine/Spirit Pairing
Woolworths House Moscato

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  • 450 g brinjals
  • 125 g cornflour
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 4 T buttermilk
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 125 g panko breadcrumbs
  • oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • For the spicy oil:
  • 2 T cayenne pepper
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • salt, to taste
  • For the burnt leek ranch dressing:
  • 30 g butter
  • 100 g leeks, thinly sliced
  • Woolworths creamy ranch dressing, for serving

1. Peel the brinjal and cut into fingers. Dredge each piece in the cornflour and set aside.

2. In a shallow bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, spices and sugar and season to taste.

3. Place a metal rack on a baking tray. Dip the coated brinjal into the egg mixture, then dredge in the cornflour again. Dip into the egg again, then finally into the panko crumbs. Repeat until all the brinjal is crumbed.

4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the brinjal until golden and crisp, about 5–7 minutes.

5. To make the spicy oil, place the ingredients in a heatproof bowl. Scoop 1⁄2 cup hot oil from the pan in which you fried the brinjals and pour over the ingredients, whisking until combined. Brush the fried brinjal with the spicy oil before serving.

6. To make the dressing, heat the butter in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook until browned and starting to crisp a little, but not burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Chop and mix with the ranch dressing. Serve with the brinjals.

Cook's note: Replace the brinjal with oyster mushrooms for an “I-can’t-believe-it’s- not-meat” sandwich or burger filling.

Find more brinjal recipes here.

Photographs: Toby Murphy
Production: Khanya Mzongwana 
Food assistance: Ellah Maepa and Leila-Ann Mokotedi 


Zandile Finxa

Recipe by: Zandile Finxa

Zandile Finxa is a Food XX Women In Food Award Winner 2022, product developer, and chef who's committed to the #sorghumagenda. Follow them on Instagram @queen_finxa for plant-based show-stoppers!

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