Eggplant is also known under a few different names:
The French name,aubergine, is mainly used in the UK, France, Germany and other European countries.
On the Indian subcontinent and in South Asia, brinjal is the traditional and most common name.
When you hear the word eggplant, you are probably in North America, Australia, or New Zealand.
What is the difference?
There is none.
All eggplant recipes refer to the same vegetable.
There are, however, many varieties of eggplants. They differ in color, size, and consistency.
Most people are familiar with the big purple eggplants, but they are also available in egg size, cucumber-shaped, raindrop form and anything in between.
Colors vary from white to yellow, green, purple or striped.
What all eggplants should have in common are the vibrant, shiny color and the firm touch. When you shop for your favorite eggplant recipe, make sure the eggplants you purchase feel relatively heavy and have no dents or bruises. The stem should be bright green which indicates freshness. The healthier the vegetable looks, the better it tastes.
You can store eggplants for a few days in a vegetable tray of your fridge (not too cold). However, cooking them as soon as possible ensures not only the highest nutritional benefits, but also the best possible taste.
Botanically, eggplant is classified as a berry (you can see the seeds when you cut it open).
It can be found in many climate zones, from moderate to tropical.
Biggest producers of eggplants are China and India. Both countries provide a wealth of eggplant recipes from a long and varied tradition of vegetarian cooking.
Eggplant dishes are usually quickly prepared with short cooking times.
When you cut the vegetable in advance, make sure to put the pieces in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.
Another preparation method is to sprinkle eggplants with salt to draw out the moisture and bitter components. Leave the salted pieces in a colander for about 30 minutes and rinse them thoroughly afterward. This treatment will not only intensify the flavor, but also reduce the absorption of oil or fat in the subsequent cooking.
Eggplants like to absorb flavors of other ingredients like herbs, spices, and sauces. In return, they lend texture and an almost meat-like substance to the dishes.
The most common cooking methods in our eggplant recipes are frying, steaming, roasting, boiling or baking. Steaming is the gentlest way to cook eggplant and helps preserve most of the nutrients.
Some dishes will require a mash-like consistency of the eggplant.
One famous example is the Middle-Eastern dip baba ganoush.
It is made with the pulp of roasted eggplant, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Just a few simple ingredients put together they make a much-loved and widespread dish.
Eggplants are known for their low-calorie count and abundance of dietary fiber, B-vitamins, and minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
They are a healthy addition to any cuisine or diet.
Going through our eggplant recipes, we are sure you will find your personal favorite.
It is a vegetable that deserves our full attention.