Simple Kitchen Creativity # 1 – Featuring The Eggplant

This is the first of the series of blogs about simple, kitchen creativity and today, I am putting the eggplant in the limelight. Eggplant is a common vegetable you could always find in the market, that’s why some call it the “humble” eggplant. Its botanical name is Solanum Melongena. India is said to be the native country of eggplant, and eggplants are known as aubergines in other countries. Eggplants contain vitamins and minerals, such as excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid. So eggplant is nutritious and not just a fiber rich vegetable as many believes but studies also indicate that eggplant has a number of health benefits from all these nutrients. Did you know that eggplant is a medicinal plant too? The leaves and roots are juiced or boiled to make a tonic for throat and stomach troubles, asthma, skin diseases, rheumatism, inflammation, intestinal hemorrhages, foot pain, coughs, anorexia, toothache, or as a general stimulant. There are many varieties of eggplant; long, short, round, some are dark purple some are yellow, light green and also white.  In the Philippines, two varieties are common. The long dark purple type and the round, green with white stripes. When choosing an eggplant, it should be firm but not too hard and not too large. We need to practice our culinary creativity to bring out the best features of this veggie.

Below are some recipes that I’ve already tried and enjoyed, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

1. Hot Chili Eggplant

Ingredients:

5 pcs. long eggplants

350gms ground beef

2 tbsp. cooking oil

Chili sauce

½ cup Tomato sauce

3 tbsp. Soy sauce

½ tsp. Black pepper

1 pc.Onion

1 pc. Garlic

Salt

Cooking direction:

Chopped the onion finely, minced the garlic. Cut the eggplant halfway, then slice it thinly and lengthwise.  Preheat the pan, put the cooking oil, then the garlic, let it turn a little bit brown then the onion. Add the soy sauce. Put the ground beef, mixed well. Cover it, stir when needed until the meat is brownish and tender. You may add 1/3 cup water when needed. Then add the tomato sauce, stir well. Add the eggplants, wait until it is well cooked. Add the chili sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Then it’s ready to serve.

2. Eggplant Ala Bicol Express

Ingredients:

5 pcs. Eggplants

25 pcs. Deveined, peeled, headless shrimp

2 tbsp. cooking oil

Fresh small hot chili or chili sauce

1 cup coconut milk

3 tbsp. fish sauce or salt

1 pc. onion

1 pc. Garlic

Cooking direction:

Chopped the onion finely, minced the garlic. Cut the eggplant halfway then slice them thinly and lengthwise.  Preheat the pan, put the cooking oil, then the garlic, allow it to turn a little bit brown then add the onion. Add the fish sauce.  Add the eggplants and the coconut milk, let it boil then cook in low heat until the eggplant is well cooked and the coconut milk a little bit thicker, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp, chili sauce or fresh hot chili, and salt to taste. Let it cook for 3 more minutes. Then it’s ready to serve.

 

3. Stir Fry Eggplant

Ingredients:

5 pcs. Eggplants

Fresh white mushrooms

1 Canned round mushrooms

2 Red bell pepper

250gms ground beef or pork ( for vegetarians you may use extra firm tofu instead of meat)

2 tbsp. cooking oil

3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce

1 pc. onion

1 pc. Garlic

Cooking direction:

Chop the onion finely, minced the garlic. Chop the eggplant. Slice the bell pepper thinly and lengthwise,sliced the white mushrooms. Preheat the pan, put the cooking oil, then the garlic, allow it to turn a little bit brown then add the onion. Add the ground meat, sprinkle with small amount of salt, stir until the meat turned a little bit brown and tender. Add eggplants, bell pepper and the mushrooms.  Add the oyster sauce and stir until it is cooked. Then it’s ready to serve.

 

There are many more ways to cook eggplant but it’s going to make this blog too long so I’ll post them sometime in the future. But let’s talk about some more ways to enjoy eating this amazing vegetable.  For most Filipinos, we love to just simply boil or steam eggplants and dip it in anchovies with lime. But grilling is a more healthful way to prepare this vegetable to retain the most natural goodness. The most common and popular way how Filipinos cook eggplant is the “Torta”. We grill the eggplant, when it’s already cooked, we peel it off but not taking off the stem, we flatten it and dip it on beaten eggs with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and other spices and flavorings that we may want to add, then just simply fry it. If you prefers to eat eggplant salad, there are many versions of that. First version: grill the eggplants, peel it off, take off the stem, chop it, add chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, canned tuna chunks ( take off the excess oil) add salt and pepper to taste. The other version is just the same as above but use smoked fish meat and finely sliced salted eggs instead of tuna chunks. Some do the same as the second one but they add finely sliced raddish into it. But this is my favorite version of eggplant salad: after grilling, peeling, chopping, add vinegar, finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and lo! we could enjoy the “ensaladang talong” as how we call it in the Philippines. Now let’s add one more simple eggplant cooking: just plainly frying it until it is light brown. To take off the excess oil, damp it dry with paper towel. Our favorite dipping sauce for fried eggplant is the “patis” ( salted fish sauce) or “bagoong” ( fish or fine shrimp anchovies ) with calamansi or lime. But you can dip it in mayonnaise or in cheese spread too, or in soy sauce with chopped tomatoes and onions or in vinegar with garlic and black pepper, whatever fits your taste.

Isn’t it amazing? That even in the simple, “ordinary” vegetable, we can see the greatness of the One who created it. The eggplant is not just a plain vegetable that we can enjoy on the dining table but the Great Creator also made this veggie with healing properties that we humans could use to cure some diseases. God is really great. His greatness is being revealed in all His creations. Praise the Lord!

Enjoy cooking and eating!

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2 Replies to “Simple Kitchen Creativity # 1 – Featuring The Eggplant”

  1. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. It’s my pleasure, Elizabeth, you’re welcome.

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