Eggplants have always been my husband`s favourite vegetable. He loves it in any form. I know a lot of people who are allergic to eggplants because of the seeds in it.In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin. Nasunin is believed to protect cell membranes from damage. Its also rich in dietary fibre and known to also promote cardio vascular health.
How to Select and Store: (Courtesy – Whole Foods)
Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. Their skin should be smooth and shiny, and their color, whether it be purple, white or green, should be vivid. They should be free of discoloration, scars, and bruises, which usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed.The stem and cap, on either end of the eggplant, should be bright green in color. As you would with other fruits and vegetables, avoid purchasing eggplant that has been waxed.
Place uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a few days. If it is too large for the crisper, do not try to force it in; this will damage the skin and cause the eggplant to spoil and decay. Instead, place it on a shelf within the refrigerator.If you purchase eggplant that is wrapped in plastic film, remove it as soon as possible since it will inhibit the eggplant from breathing and degrade its freshness.
I always prefer cooking with the Japanese Eggplant as its very soft, has minimal seeds and cooks extremely fast. I use the Indian Eggplant only when I would reequire to make stuffed brinjals etc.
I already have a few posts with the Brinjals:
- Stuffed Yennai Kathirikkai. (Eggplant stuffed with ground masala slow roasted in oil).
- Kathirikkai Podimas ( Eggplants sauteed in oil and coated in curry powder).
- Delicious Kathirikkai Gothsu (Brinjals, onions and tomatoes in a tangy tamarind gravy)
- Milagu Kuzhambu ( Tamarind Pepper gravy simmered in spices cooked with Baby Brinjals)
- Eggplant Parmigiana – Olive Garden Style.
This time around my husband wanted Yennai Kathirikkai Kara Kuzhambu and so I was inspired completely by Viji`s method and have made a few changes to her version to incorporate a few of my inputs. There is no grinding of masalas or spices and once you put it on the stove to simmer, you can forget about it. The resulting gravy was tangy, spicy and completely out of the world taste. Since it combines the stuffing of the brinjals with spice powders and then simmering it in the tamarind gravy, the combination of best practises was heavenly.
5 Baby Brinjals.
1 large organic sour tomato or 2 medium sized tomatoes.
Curry Powder to stuff the brinjals.( I once used store bought Puliyodharai Powder/Vangibath Powder etc)
2 tsp Sambar Powder.
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder.
Tamarind Juice extracted from a gooseberry sized tamarind.
Seasoning: Mustard, Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves, Hing.
- Wash and clean the brinjals and dry them with a paper towel. Slit them three times across with a knife keeping the calyx intact. Take a few drops of coconut oil and slide it in to the slit brinjals.
- Now sprinkle some salt from a salt shaker and place it in the microwave for 3 min on HIGH.
- The brinjals come out a little cooked with the salt sticking to their sides. Keep aside for a few minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile slit the side of a tomato with a cross and pop it in boiling water for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove from water and when slightly cool, puree it in the mixer. Keep aside.
- Combine the tomato puree and the tamarind water.
- Now slowly fill in the vangibath powder/curry powder/puliyodharai powder into the moist brinjals and set aside. Since there is some oil inside, the powder would stick to the sides.
- Take a kadai, add 2-3 spoons of gingely oil and when hot, add mustard, urad dhal, curry leaves, hing and slowly the stuffed brinjals.
- The stuffed brinjals will slowly get shallow fried in the oil in the kadai. Turn them around every few minutes to make sure that they are cooked on all sides.
- Now add the tamarind tomato water and bring the flame to medium low.
- Add salt, hing, turmeric, sambar powder, red chilli powder and some torn curry leaves.
- Keep the flame on medium low and allow to simmer for some time until the raw smell is gone.
- When the oil starts to separate, switch off the stove and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve HOT with Appalam and Beans Poriyal.