While oft maligned by home cooks as being soggy, brinjal is a real star in Indian cuisine. When cooked properly, it becomes soft and creamy. It acts like a sponge for flavor, meaning you can transform it from a smoky chutney to a buttery fritter with ease. Here I’ve assembled 19 deliciously cozy brinjal recipes or eggplant recipes that highlight the best attributes of this stunning vegetable.
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What is Brinjal?
Brinjal – also known as eggplant, aubergine or baingan – is enigmatic: classified as part of the nightshade family (alongside potatoes and tomatoes), this curious creature is actually a berry that is treated like a veggie in the kitchen.
The raw brinjal is spongy with almost no taste; upon cooking, it turns rich and soft. That spongy texture isn’t just for looks – eggplant does an amazing job of soaking up flavors. Feel free to season it freely and aggressively; cooked alone, it verges on bland.
What is the best way to eat Eggplant?
Eggplant can be used in a multitude of preparations. Whether baked, fried or stewed, this delicious nightshade is a real treat. The trick is just to make sure that it is fully cooked.
Brinjal is not a veg that likes to be al dente; cook until it becomes tender and creamy, with the flesh surrendering like custard under the slightest pressure.
Is Eggplant Healthy?
Low in calories and high in potassium and fiber, eggplant can certainly be part of a healthy diet. The trick is not to load it down with tons of oil and fat. Using methods like baking, roasting, steaming or braising helps to maintain it as a low calorie food.
How do I pick Brinjal?
When choosing a brinjal at the market, look for smooth, unblemished skin; wrinkles are a sign that they’re past their prime, and bruises generally indicate soft spots. The brinjal should also be somewhat firm to the touch, like a slightly squishy potato. If you can indent the fruit with your finger, it’s probably a bit too soft.
Be sure to examine the stem, too – it should be green with no signs of mold. Finally, opt for small to medium eggplants to avoid lots of seeds or bitterness.
Check for any holes on the outer eggplant surface. A presence of a hole indicates worms in the eggplant. So avoid buying these kinds of eggplants.
How to store brinjal?
Fresh baingan should last in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to a week. Once cooked, it should last in a covered container for up to another 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can it be frozen?
Yes! Once cooked, brinjal can be puréed and frozen with excellent results; most of the eggplant recipes here can also be frozen. Certain preparations like frying may result in a bit of a soggy texture after freezing, so be sure to recrisp in the convection oven for best flavor.
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