Eggplant, Melongene, Aubergine, Guinea Squash and Brinjal are just some of the names the nightshade Solanum Melongena'L goes by. Botanically, this deep purple, green skinned produce is classified as a fruit (berry) but in the culinary world, it is deemed a vegetable. This vegetable-fruit, takes on a number of shapes and sizes depending on the cultivar. It is grown in warm temperatures and is ready for harvesting, approximately 60 to 90 days after planting. (1, 2, 3) Eggplant is normally eaten ripe and cooked, to reduce the presence of the alkaloid solanine, which is toxic to humans.
Nutrition-wise, eggplant makes a great addition to any diet despite containing fair amounts of micronutrients. On the plus side, eggplant is naturally low in calories, carbohydrates and sodium thus, making it great for persons on low-carb or sodium restricted meal plans. Some say eggplant’s high water content is the reason it absorbs flavours well; on its own eggplant has a mild to bland taste. (It should not taste bitter!)
Health-wise, eggplant offers a number of benefits, thanks to it being packed with phytochemicals and non-nutritive compounds such as nasunin, chlorogenic acid and glycoalkoloids. (4, 5) Dr. Pamplona Roger, the author of The Healing Power of Foods states the urinary and digestive systems benefit the most from the consumption of eggplant; eggplant functions as a diuretic, a mild laxative, and stimulates the production of pancreatic juice. (6) 2010 research performed by Al-Janabi and Al-Rubeey highlights the potency of eggplant’s antibacterial properties. (7)
Nevertheless, my favourite way of preparing eggplant is roasting (eggplant choka). I roast the eggplant over the stove top, until all the sides are chard. The chard skin gives the eggplant a slight smoky and nutty flavour.
2 Small Eggplants
4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and slivered
Dash Hot Pepper Sauce
½ Tbsp Chives and Shadon Beni, diced
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
1 tsp Vegetable Oil (optional)
1) Wash and pat dry the eggplants
2) Using a paring knife, make mini lengthwise sloths all around the eggplants
3) Fill the sloths with the garlic cloves
4) Place the eggplant on the stove top, with the burner on high to medium
5) Leave the eggplant to get chard (3 minutes), then turn to other side
6) Remove from stove top when the eggplant is chard all around
7) Place chard eggplants in a deep bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside for 5 minutes or until cool to touch
8) Remove the plastic wrap and peel the skins off the eggplants
9) Add the eggplant flesh to a bowl; add in the pepper sauce, chives and shadon beni and oil (optional). Mix well and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
· A liquid drips from the eggplant as it cooks, this liquid can be hard to remove after it dries. Placing a layer of foil around the burner before starting is a good idea.
· You can add diced onions if you like or dried herbs or geera etc.
1) University of Hawaii at Manoa. (ns). Eggplant. Available: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/fb/eggplant/eggplant.htm. Last accessed 23th Aug 2012.
2) Sanders, D. (NS). Home Garden Eggplant. Available: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8015.html. Last accessed 23th Aug 2012.
3) Cantwell, M & Suslow, T. (NS). Eggplant. Available: http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/pfvegetable/Eggplant/. Last accessed 23th Aug 2012.
4) Hedges, L and Lister, C. (June 2007). Nutritional attributes of spinach, silver beet and eggplant. Available: http://www.vegetables.co.nz/resources/1files/pdf/booklet_spinach_silverbeet_eggplant.pdf. Last accessed 23th Aug 2012.
5) Tiwari, A, Jadon, R, Tiwari, P, et.al. (2009). Phytochemical investigations of Crown of Solanum melongena fruit. International Journal of Phytomedicine. 1, 9-11.
6) Pamplona-Roger, J. (2004). Foods for Urinary Tract. In: Valls, J and Goya, A The Healing Power of Foods. Spain: Inter-American Division Publishing Association. 242-243.
7) Al-Janabi, A and Al-Rubeey, S. (2010). Detection of Antimicrobial Activity of Solanum melogena L. (Egg plant) Against Pathogenic Microorganisms.Pharmacognosy Journal. 2 (15), 35-39.