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Eggplant Or Aubergine
What Are Eggplants, How To Cook Eggplant
What Is An Eggplant Or Aubergine
There are a few types of eggplants. Biologists consider the eggplant to be a fruit rather than a vegetable. Aubergine is another name for the eggplant, and these can range in size from peanut size specimens to much longer aubergines that grow to almost a foot (12 inches) in length. When it comes to cooking an eggplant the interesting thing is that, it can absorb almost any flavour from any of the ingredients in the dish. In this article, we provide information of a particular type of eggplant that is a common ingredient in Thai food dishes. Aubergines or eggplants can be a green color, a white and green color combination or even deep purple. We will also discuss how to choose an eggplant and how to store it. Aubergines are generally cultivated throughout the year and the eggplant is therefore not considered to be a seasonal vegetable. Thailand is probably the only country where, an eggplant (particular type) is eaten raw, more details are given below.
General Information On The Eggplant
The eggplant or aubergine belongs to the same family as tomatoes and peppers. The interesting thing is that both tomatoes and peppers orginated in America whereas, eggplant or aubergine is a native of tropical Asia. Eggplants have been cultivated in Asia for more than 2,000 years and are biologically classified as fruits rather than vegetables. Today you will find Asian and Western varieties of aubregines, shorter varieties of the eggplant are grown in Asia and the longer varities are grown in Western countries. A particular type of aubergine is quite white in color and shaped like an egg, the Americans therefore gave it the name eggplant. The name then started to be used for all types of aubergines irrespective of their length, shape or color.
Aubergine, Aroma And Flavour In Cooking
There is a very interesting thing about the flavour of eggplants, in it's raw condition an aubergine would have a slightly bitter taste. Taste a raw eggplant and you might also notice it's smoky flavour. Fresh aubergines have a very weak bitter taste but, this bitter taste could get more pronounced as the eggplant gets overmatured. This is one of the reasons why you should select fresh aubergines when you shop for them. Talking about the smoky and bitter flavour of eggplants, some people do not like it because of these flavours but, many others love the eggplant for these very flavors. When it comes to cooking eggplants, you will find that it easily absorbs flavours from other ingredients. This is one of the reasons why aubergine recipes include, ingredients and seasonings with strong flavours.
Eating An Eggplant Raw
Not many people eat the eggplant raw it is generally cooked in some form or the other. However, a type of aubergine (image shown on this page) is sometimes eaten raw in Thailand. Fresh and tender eggplants of this type are eaten raw by dipping in spicy dip sauces. You might also find a Thai eating this eggplant by dipping it in a dry mixture of salt and chilli powder. The Thais either cut the eggplant into small strips and eat it raw or take a bite from the raw vegetable piece by piece. There have been no other reports of the eggplant being eaten raw so we presume that this is done only in Thailand.
Cooking aubergines depends on the recipe being followed, an eggplant could be
fried, steamed, stuffed, baked or even roasted. In India, big purple rounded
eggplants are roasted on an open flame. The burnt skin is then peeled off and
the roasted flesh of the aubergine is prepared into a delicious dish. Other
ingredients like onions, brown sugar and seasoning are added to the dish. In
this eggplant recipe, the flesh of the aubergine becomes soft and pulpy, it
is not of cutting consistency and is therefore mashed into a paste.
Firstly remember that fresh and tender aubergines are much tastier and also less bitter. These eggplants will absorb less oil when fried. You will also not need to worry about rubbing salt on the eggplant pieces (to reduce oil absorption) if they are tender and fresh. Another good thing about the eggplant is that it is grown and available throughout the year. When you shop for any type of aubergine, buy a quantity that will be utilised in a day or two. Fresh and tender eggplants can be stored for around 3 to 4 days in the compartment of your refrigerator that holds other vegetables. If you have no option but to buy slightly stale or overmatured aubergines, buy sufficient to cook just that meal and try to ensure that none remain.
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