Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

That purple prince…

…of the vegetable kingdom. That’s what I recall my friend Tim Warren once calling eggplants and he wasn’t far wrong even if his prose was, well, a trifle purple. I remember Bindu Didi (aka Dr. Bindu Bambah) once planning a book on 100 (or was it 1000?) ways to cook eggplants and in partial tribute to that my first thought was to call this page ’50 ways to serve your lover’ but that was too long and nowhere nearly as intuitive as the current title. But there are more ways to use this vegetable than I can count and here I give only the less obvious recipes or the ones newly entered into my repertoire. The classics will be added later..

South-east Asian inspired eggplants

I’ve used the long slender Japanese(?) eggplants for this recipe, but am sure it would work beautifully with the small whole ones that actually look like purple (or pale green) eggs with stalks. If the former, cut into large chunks rather than slices; if the little ones, slit open crosswise, but keep whole at the stem side. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice or soak in some water acidulated with vinegar or tamarind. Drain and sprinkle or rub pieces with a bit of salt and chili powder. Heat some oil in a skillet (peanut oil or regular cooking oil flavored with a bit of sesame oil) along with some chopped garlic and ginger, add the chunks of eggplant. Stir a few time until all pieces are coated and then cook on low heat turning occasionally until pieces are browned on all sides. If you use a wok, you have to work more continuously, stirring and turning the pieces over a high heat all the while.

While eggplants (aka brinjals where I come from) are frying or after they’ve been browned if in wok, make the a dressing lemon/lime rice vinegar or tamarind water (something to give acidity), fish sauce (vegetarians may omit and use soy sauce instead), a touch of honey or other sweetener – maple syrup, palm syrup etc whatever’s handy in the kitchen, sesame oil,  chopped garlic and ginger, a combination of green & red chillies also chopped very fine. Turn up (or on) heat and add part of the liquid mixture to eggplant, stirring vigorously until sauce is partially absorbed by the veges and partially evaporated. Turn off heat and put into a serving dish. Top with remainder of the liquid seasoning, chopped scallions, coarsely crushed roasted peanuts (MUST have for a truly lovely blend of textures)  and green coriander, mint and basil (all or any combination thereof) and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. 

Note: I’ve made bitter melons (karelas in hindi) – recipes for which will show up on another page by and by – in the same way (though processed by salting and squeezing first) and they were really good! Best to keep them constantly stirring over the wok.

1 Comment»

  Bindu Bambah wrote @

Great Blog! Enjoying it!


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