Saturday, 8 February 2020

Eggplant Fritters AKA Camels' Balls

Back in the dark ages, in my hazy, vaguely-remembered youth, I lived with several other young persons.  We were all vegetarians at the time, so one day, friend K. and I decided to make a version of these fritters.  For some obscure reason, (perhaps because she loved all things camel) we decided to call them camels' balls.  The hero ingredient (as the cooking shows rather nauseatingly say) was eggplant.  

Whether you call them eggplants, aubergines or brinjals, these plump, purple-skinned beauties are loved in many food cultures.  And they are so cute!  You can get them egg-sized; you can get them striped or even white or yellow-skinned.  Or even pea sized.  Adorable really, and delicious.

ignore the burnt one!:-)

This is a recipe where you want a bit of time to mess around in the kitchen, so try it on a weekend.  But you can easily make the nut meal the day before.  You can also bake the eggplant, purée it, then leave in the fridge till dinner time, for the final steps.  I fried up the onion and garlic in the morning, and threw that in the processor with the baked eggplant.  The mixture will now happily sit in the fridge till dinner time.  And then I made dinner:-)


150g. (5 oz) walnuts, toasted and blitzed

around 770g. (26 oz) eggplants (I used two)

1-2 tbs EV olive oil

a few big pinches of sea salt flakes

1 large onion, chopped finely

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbs EV olive oil for frying

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp ground cummin

1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4-1/2 tsp ground coriander

2 tbs tahini

a biiiig handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely

1-2 tsp lightly-dried mint + 1-2 tsp lightly-dried parsley

1 large egg

1 tbs lemon juice

extra salt and pepper - maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp of each

a big dash of sumac, if you fancy

panko breadcrumbs - I forgot to weigh them, so perhaps 120 grams?  You want just enough to thicken the mixture a little, and give the small patties/fritters/balls a crunchy coat, so use more or less as you see fit

2-3 tbs more EV olive oil, if you decide to fry your balls:-)


First toast your walnuts for 10-12 minutes at 175C, till golden and smelling delightful - keep an eye on them so they don't burn

Cool, then blitz in the food processor till you have a slightly chunky nut meal - put aside while you bake the eggplants

Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, thru the middle of the stem

Lay them cut side up, on a baking paper-lined tray

Spoon a teaspoon of olive oil over each of the four halves, and a big pinch of salt on each one

Bake @ 210C for at least 50 minutes; it may take longer - you want them golden-brown on top and as tender as butter when a knife goes thru the flesh

Leave to cool completely, then scoop out the flesh into the food processor

Give it several pulses of the processor till you have a thick purée

Meanwhile, fry up the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for about 8 minutes till very soft and golden

Add the salt, pepper, and the 4 spices into the onion/garlic mix

Stir in well, and fry off for a minute or two

Let it cool, then scrape into the food processor with the eggplant and the tahini

Give everything a few pulses to combine

Spoon out the mixture into a large bowl

Now add the herbs, the egg, the lemon juice, and extra salt, pepper and sumac if you feel so inclined 

In goes the walnut meal; now stir everything together

Start throwing in small handfuls of the panko, and adjust as you go

You can now either plop tablespoon-sized amounts on a lined baking tray, and bake for about 25 minutes at 210C, OR shallow fry them in a couple of tablespoons of EV olive oil - a few minutes per side.  I tried both ways; both delicious, tho' frying always gives that little bit of extra pizzazz, don't you think?:-)

Serve with tzatziki, some chopped tomato and cucumber, and relish of your choice


I ended up with just over 500g. (17 oz) of eggplant flesh

I used organic, roasted and unhulled tahini

slice the eggplant in half, then add salt and EVOO

fry up the onion and garlic, and add the spices 

you could even bake these for a bit longer:-)

yep, I know what it looks like ... tee hee

throw everything into the bowl

ready for baking @ 210C for about 25 mins. 

fry 'em up in some EVOO if you prefer

add some tzatziki and chopped salad

artwork © Sherry's Pickings


  1. Wish I could reach in and grab one to try! Save that burned one for me :-))

  2. They look yummy. I like all things eggplant.

    1. me too amalia. especially bab ganoush, when it's really smoky ...

  3. I used to love a baked eggplant with a nutty cheese filling and this takes it back to these - though we never had a fun name like yours

  4. I was in a shop today and saw that they had roasted eggplant in a jar. I guess it's for recipes like this!

    1. maybe so. I guess it would be in a brine tho, so that may not be good for the flavour of the balls:-)

  5. Fritters are my friend and eggplant is a favored veggie, so your camels' balls are a natural for my snack plate. Oh, and I say heck yes to the sumac.

    1. oh yes eggplant is the best Ron. and yep sumac is a winner.

  6. I'm not a fan of frying so love that you can oven bake these too. Are they best served hot because I'm thinking how yummy they could in a lunch box!

    1. yes best served hot sammie. i tried them on a sandwich; they were ok but better hot... yep i'm no good at frying either. all that spattering and carrying on...

  7. Great eggplant recipe Sherry, especially with the fresh sides, cheerio M

  8. We've been all in on eggplant lately. Seriously! We've been eating a ton of veggies to help 'bulk up' our dinner plates while still keeping the calorie counts low. This sounds like a fun and different way to use eggplant. Plus, I get to call them camel balls! Haha. :-)

    1. eggplants are the bomb:-) camels' balls - tee hee ...

  9. The name of these makes me laugh, Sherry :) but the flavors are seriously delicious - and very Middle Eastern. So I guess the name is really quite perfect!

    1. hi kelly

      yep that's what we thought too:) Camels' balls are the bomb.

  10. I love eggplant and am excited to try this unique recipe, Sherry! Love all the flavors!


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