Thursday, June 20, 2024

In The Kitchen With Kanta: Baked eggplant (Impwa) with cheese


In-The-Kitchen-With-Kanta-Logo (1)


Growing up I absolutely hated Impwa, they were too bitter and I didn’t enjoy them at all; but like most of the food that I now eat, once I got older I started enjoying them. Shaped similar to an egg or a pear, Impwa are small white eggplants, these are significantly smaller than their purple eggplant counterparts.  They are often harvested when they are very young and called “Baby eggplants”; they have a creamy texture and mellow flavour when cooked. Small eggplants are low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium and potassium; and are an excellent addition to any meal. These eggplants are available during the summer months and because of their small size and sponge-like qualities they can soak up a lot of bold flavours; making it easy to cook them in a variety of ways – mixed with ginger, garlic, chilli and all types of spices.  They can be cooked in a number of ways; pan-fried, deep fried, grilled and baked and compliment stewed meats, baked fish, chicken and even cheese.  White eggplants have a short shelf life once harvested, so should be consumed roughly within 5 days.

If you are still trying to convince your kids to eat these, shake up the way you cook them and try out this easy and delicious recipe – Baked eggplant with cheese.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4 people

  • 8 small white eggplants, sliced in half – long ways
  •  Salt & Pepper
  •  1 tsp of Garlic powder
  •  192g of breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (740 ml) jar of tomato & basil pasta sauce
  • 170g of cheddar cheese, grated
  •  ½ a pack of fresh basil (optional)


First remove some of the bitterness of the eggplants.  Peel and slice each eggplant, sprinkle with salt and rinse in a colander under the tap. Let them drain for about 30 minutes.  Prepare a baking tray with foil or greaseproof paper and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 ?C.  In a bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of garlic.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs until smooth. Dip each eggplant into the egg mixture, making sure each side is coated with egg, then immediately dip them into the breadcrumbs, coating each side. Place them on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes; turning them over once, half way through. Remove them from the oven and set aside.
Now pour half of the jar of tomato and basil sauce onto the bottom of a different baking tray.  Spread the Impwa evenly over the sauce, pour the remaining half of sauce over the Impwa and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted, is slightly golden around the edges and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the basil over the top.

eggplant and cheddar


Serve immediately whilst piping hot and bubbling. they can be eaten on their own, as an appetizer or  a snack.

The kids will love this, the cheese completely disguises the Impwa; and they won’t feel like they are eating boring veggies; and of course you will be happy because you are packing in all those nutrients. Enjoy!

Kanta Temba is a cake maker and decorator. She is also the owner and founder of Kanta Kakes – cake shop.

You can find her work on www.kantakakes.comFollow her on twitter @KantaKakes and Instagram @KantaTemba.

Baking with Kanta - IMG



  1. I love this idea. Top marks. I too learned to love Impwa, which my dad used to absolutely love. He was great on sticking up for traditional Zambian food. We used them mostly in stews. They do provide a palate contrast in stew dishes.

    I am going to use Parmesan cheese instead, think it’s slightly low in fat and not greasy. It’s a nifty idea! Well done.

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