The beautiful aubergine/eggplant/talong/brinjal

Morning Glory

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Some of you may have noticed a few aubergine recipes popping up. They are entries to
The CookingBites Recipe Challenge. Anyone can enter. All you need to do is post a recipe featuring aubergine/eggplant. It doesn't have to be your own recipe. As winner of the first round (which featured potatoes), it falls on me to be judge and jury for the next round. This means I get to choose the featured ingredient. I chose aubergines because they are available across most of the countries represented on the forum and because they are so versatile. To find out more about the challenge, click on the link above.

The beautiful aubergine
The aubergine is a fruit of rare beauty with its glossy taut purple skin inviting you to hold, touch and stroke. Beneath the skin the flesh is soft, spongey, cream coloured, sometimes tinged with green and flecked with small edible brown seeds. If I was being polite, I'd say that the taste of raw aubergine is mild and delicately earthy, but to my mind the rather woolly texture of the raw flesh eclipses any taste benefits. However, once cooked, the flesh is transformed into a silky cashmere affair. It soaks up oil in vast quantities, which you might think accounts for the sumptuous texture, but it can be cooked with little or no oil and still undergoes this magical transformation.

The musky slightly smokey tenderness of cooked aubergine is unique among vegetable flavours.
It gives depth to the mixed stews of Mediterranean Cookery such as ratatuoille and adds distinction to minced lamb in Greek moussaka. There is even more to be aid for exploiting the flavour of the aubergine itself or with only the assistance of a tomato or béchamel sauce. Jane Grigson's vegetable book

Although the purple variety is probably the most familiar in the West, aubergines can vary in colour and shape from round and globular to oval or long and narrow and varying in colour from purple to lavender, jade green and orange. There is also a strikingly beautiful white aubergine, which really does resemble an egg! Apparently this is how they came to be called eggplants. Rather disappointingly perhaps, the white aubergine tastes the same as the purple one.

Aubergines are a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. They are technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact). They contain a poisonous substance 'solananine' (as does Deadly Nightshade which is part of the same family). They also contain high levels of nicotine:
As a member of the nightshade family, aubergine is related to tomatoes and potatoes, and like them its leaves are poisonous. It's also a close cousin of tobacco and contains more nicotine than any other vegetable http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/apr/26/food-and-drink
The fruit as well as the leaves contain solananine, which can be toxic in large doses. But you really would have to eat an impossible amount of raw aubergines at one sitting to suffer any ill effects!

Aubergines are the most versatile of vegetables. They can be used alongside meats in stews and casseroles, or cooked alone as fritters or with cheese and tomatoes, they can be stuffed, baked or made into dips or even soup. But they are rarely used in sweet dishes despite being a fruit. No doubt, @classic33 will come up with something on that front!

So, please post some aubergine recipes. I'm going to do my best to cook and try any recipes if I haven't come across them before in some guise. Luckily, I can buy aubergines for 39p each in Aldi at the moment, so this won't break the bank! Anyway, it looks like I'm making Potassium Blast (Egg Plant Smoothie) tomorrow. Wish me luck!
 

classic33

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You also said it's a vegetable!
Some of you may have noticed a few aubergine recipes popping up. They are entries to
The CookingBites Recipe Challenge. Anyone can enter. All you need to do is post a recipe featuring aubergine/eggplant. It doesn't have to be your own recipe. As winner of the first round (which featured potatoes), it falls on me to be judge and jury for the next round. This means I get to choose the featured ingredient. I chose aubergines because they are available across most of the countries represented on the forum and because they are so versatile. To find out more about the challenge, click on the link above.

The beautiful aubergine
The aubergine is a fruit of rare beauty with its glossy taut purple skin inviting you to hold, touch and stroke. Beneath the skin the flesh is soft, spongey, cream coloured, sometimes tinged with green and flecked with small edible brown seeds. If I was being polite, I'd say that the taste of raw aubergine is mild and delicately earthy, but to my mind the rather woolly texture of the raw flesh eclipses any taste benefits. However, once cooked, the flesh is transformed into a silky cashmere affair. It soaks up oil in vast quantities, which you might think accounts for the sumptuous texture, but it can be cooked with little or no oil and still undergoes this magical transformation.

The musky slightly smokey tenderness of cooked aubergine is unique among vegetable flavours.

Although the purple variety is probably the most familiar in the West, aubergines can vary in colour and shape from round and globular to oval or long and narrow and varying in colour from purple to lavender, jade green and orange. There is also a strikingly beautiful white aubergine, which really does resemble an egg! Apparently this is how they came to be called eggplants. Rather disappointingly perhaps, the white aubergine tastes the same as the purple one.

Aubergines are a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. They are technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact). They contain a poisonous substance 'solananine' (as does Deadly Nightshade which is part of the same family). They also contain high levels of nicotine:

The fruit as well as the leaves contain solananine, which can be toxic in large doses. But you really would have to eat an impossible amount of raw aubergines at one sitting to suffer any ill effects!

Aubergines are the most versatile of vegetables. They can be used alongside meats in stews and casseroles, or cooked alone as fritters or with cheese and tomatoes, they can be stuffed, baked or made into dips or even soup. But they are rarely used in sweet dishes despite being a fruit. No doubt, @classic33 will come up with something on that front!

So, please post some aubergine recipes. I'm going to do my best to cook and try any recipes if I haven't come across them before in some guise. Luckily, I can buy aubergines for 39p each in Aldi at the moment, so this won't break the bank! Anyway, it looks like I'm making Potassium Blast (Egg Plant Smoothie) tomorrow. Wish me luck!
 

Morning Glory

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classic33

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Corzhens

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I didn't know that aubergine is like tomato which falls under the category of fruit. But anyway, we call it eggplant and no one would understand you if you call it aubergine here. The usual dish for aubergine is as ingredient in our native vegetable dish called Pinakbet (in Metro Manila) or Dinengdeng (in the northern part of the country). It is also good for a side dish which can be made into a salad. But the aubergine should be broiled for salad that is mixed with vinegar, crushed garlic and salt.
 

Morning Glory

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So are you going to post up any of your favourite aubergine recipes? There is nothing anywhere that says you can't, you just can't enter them in to the comp! Mind you there is nothing anywhere that says they can't be in the comp either!
I have an all time favourite aubergine recipe (its not my own, but I can't better it!). I may post it eventually, but I'm kind of hoping someone will come up with it. In which case they will probably win the challenge! I'll post some hints about it nearer the deadline.
 

Morning Glory

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I didn't know that aubergine is like tomato which falls under the category of fruit. But anyway, we call it eggplant and no one would understand you if you call it aubergine here. The usual dish for aubergine is as ingredient in our native vegetable dish called Pinakbet (in Metro Manila) or Dinengdeng (in the northern part of the country). It is also good for a side dish which can be made into a salad. But the aubergine should be broiled for salad that is mixed with vinegar, crushed garlic and salt.
So @Corzhens, are you going to post up one of these recipes so that you are included in the Challenge? :D
 
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