Possibly the Best Eggplant Dish? / 燉茄子

Singapore Braised Eggplant
Good with Curries and Western Meat Dishes

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

Eggplant has an image problem with Western cooks.  This results from the fact that they usually cook it the wrong way.  First breading, then frying in a lot of oil.  This gives the vegetable the reputation of being greasy and containing a lot of fat calories.

There are problems with the skin, too, which can be bitter and tough if not handled properly.

Asian cooks know better.  Tis nutritious and delicious vegetable is known in the Pacific Rim in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors, ranging from deep purpose to pure white. There are a huge repertoire of recipes, some quite simple, others rather elaborate, and all quid delicious.

Eggplants are enjoyed in the Pacific Rim boiled, stir-fried, baked, deep-fried, braised, stuffed and braised and steamed.  The only way they are never cooked is in  a soup.

The recipe for Braised Eggplant which follows may be the best or one of the best of the many available, judging from the reaction of many people who have tried it. It has the special advantages of not being greasy or oily at all – only a minimal amount of oil is used for a large quantity of vegetable.  And the preparation time is very quick — a total of 15 minutes will produce this delicious dish.

This Braised Eggplant recipe comes from Singapore, where it is served both as an accompaniment for curries and for Western dishes like meats.  It seems to work well in either role:

Braised Eggplant

Singapore

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized Asian Eggplants (brainjal), or more as desired, or 1 large Western Eggplant, at least 1 pound weight
2 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Vegetabe Oil
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
½ cup Water

Method:

First peel the Eggplants and cut in half lengthwise, then in quarters, making at least four pieces lengthwise peer Eggplant.  Then cut them crosswise into thick slices.  Put them in a bowl of water to keep them from getting discolored.

Peel and slice the Garlic finely and set aside.

Heat a wok.  When it is hot, put in the Oil.  When the Oil is hot, fry the Garlic until it is brown.  Put in the Eggplant and stir-fry briefly.  Cover the com over low fire w or 3 minutes.

Stir, add the Soy Sauce and a little Water.  Cover again and cook over very low fire about 10 minutes or until the Eggplants are soft.  In Singapore this is commonly served with Western Meat dishes or with Curries of any kind.

Singapore Skyline 1960s

Singapore Skyline

Everyone who tries it seems to enjoy this version of Eggplant or Aubergine.  What are the health aspects?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eggplant is regarded is Cold and Sweet in nature.  Containing potassium, niacin, carotene, protein, and Vitamins A, B-6, C and E.

Eggplant, being cold in nature, is used in the prevention and management of diabetes and high blood pressure. Eggplant is indicated in TCM in management of a number of conniptions, and is considered especially valuable in protecting the capillaries and warding off atheroschlerosis.

Japanese nutritionist Fumiko Matsumoto found that Eggplant to be…..low in calories, high in fiber and with significant amounts of potassium and phosphorus.as well as Vitamin C.

Eggplant was probably a native of India and Burma, and began arriving in China during the Tang dynasty, when they were first cultivated.

Evidently it took time for Eggplants to widely distributed in China.  About a century before the time of Marco Polo, Chinese traders identified the Kingdom of Sunda, in Western Java, as a source of supply for Eggplant.

In More recent times Eggplants have become well known and an important Vegetable throughout the East Asian and Southeast Asian regions.

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