This one is for the eggplant haters of the world. I know you’re out there because a) I’m one of you, and b) there are many articles on the internet detailing why eggplant is the worst, along with dishes dedicated to all eggplant despisers. Despite the drama surrounding eggplant and its terrible, bland, bitter flavour, this vegetable may be made to taste wonderful.
All you need is umami-rich oyster sauce, sesame oil, and a hefty sprinkle of sambal oelek to make this dish. Throw in some broccoli, red onions, and fluffy jasmine rice to make it a Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Bowl while you’re at it. Once you catch a whiff of this eggplant stuff baking in the oven, you’ll be hungry enough for dinner.
Some Best Tips to Cook an Eggplant
Consider this if you’re unfamiliar with oyster sauce (or just want to despise it because of the name): According to Bon Appetit, oyster sauce is produced from caramelised oyster fluids and mimics barbecue sauce but with a lot more umami.
Oyster sauce does not taste fishy, so even if you don’t like oysters, you should give it a try. And sambal oelek is just a very concentrated Asian chili sauce that can handle a lot of work in any recipe. The goal is to create a sauce that works wonders for your taste buds and is thick and flavorful enough to hide eggplant’s bland flavour.
When talking about how bad eggplant tastes, we have to mention its strange, spongy texture. This really works in our advantage because the spongy flesh of the eggplant readily absorbs all of the sauce’s firecracker-y sweet and spicy overtones after it’s sliced into a million small half-moons.
However, until you roast the eggplant thoroughly, it will remain rubbery to eat. Bake it for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring it halfway through. I guarantee this will turn the eggplant’s strange texture into a creamy fantasy of goodness. Meanwhile, each slice’s outside surfaces get wonderfully crispy and burnt.
Once your eggplant, broccoli, and onion have been roasted to perfection, combine them with wild rice and a few flavorful garnishes in a bowl. Green onions are a must-have, but basil, mint, and cilantro are delicious. Sure, sesame seeds that have been toasted. To be honest, your wonderfully prepared eggplant deserves all of your affection. As a result, spoon some dressed-up mayo on top as well. It’s yours, and your eggplant’s due.
What is the Best Way to Cook an Egg Plant?
There are various ways to prepare eggplant and get the ideal balance of bitterness and sweetness. Soaking it in milk or saltwater brine is the first method. In this method, the eggplant slices are partially submerged in the liquid and completed in the oven. This approach is time-honored and essential to the preparation of ratatouille.
Pan-searing and stir-frying are two other options. A nonstick skillet and plenty of olive oil are used for pan-searing. The vegetables should be thinly cut and constantly stirred until the bottoms are browned. If correctly prepared, both methods will give wonderful results.
You can start cooking once the eggplant is fully cooked. To begin, make sure the eggplant is firm and not soft. When softly touched, it should spring back. Check for a solid stem; a brown stem suggests it is past its prime. It will have thinner skin, fewer seeds, and sweeter flesh if you desire a smaller eggplant. Smaller kids will also have fewer seeds and be easier to peel.
After the eggplant has been prepared, slice it. Crosswise, lengthwise, or crosswise slices can be created. If you don’t eat the eggplant within two days, it will turn excessively watery and have a gummy texture. The slices will become soft after being grilled. Then, for a delightful, spicy touch, add a sauce.
Adding roasted vegetables to the dinner is a terrific way to boost the flavour. To make a savoury side dish, combine them with other ingredients. Roasting eggplant properly is the key to having it taste excellent. For the flavour to come through, the eggplant must be fully cooked and smooth and creamy. It will be more receptive to other flavours as a result of this. It also keeps the eggplant from being too oily.
How do you Get the Bitterness Out of Eggplant?
The most tried-and-true strategy for overcoming bitterness is a contentious topic; some argue that it merely conceals our feeling of bitterness rather than actually removing it. Regardless, adding a generous amount of salt over eggplant slices or cubes before cooking helps pull out moisture and reduce bitterness. Allow for an hour of resting time before lightly rinsing off some of the salt before cooking.
Soak it in milk for a while.
This is another popular but lesser-known method that many people swear by. Before cooking, soak eggplant slices or cubes in milk for about 30 minutes. The milk not only soothes the bitterness but it also makes the eggplant particularly creamy, as the vegetable absorbs a lot of milk into its flesh.
Remove the seeds with a spoon.
You can always chop away the seeds if you don’t want to waste time salting or soaking. Most bitterness is held in the seeds, and older eggplants might have a lot of them. By removing the seed’s inner core, the bitterness should be reduced.
What are the Health Benefits of Eating Eggplants?
Contains a Wide Range of Nutrients
Eggplants are a nutrient-dense food, which provides a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fibre for a small quantity of calories. Niacin, magnesium, and copper are nutrients found in tiny amounts in eggplants. Eggplant is high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals while low in calories.
Antioxidants are abundant.
In addition to a wide range of vitamins and minerals, eggplants have strong antioxidant content. Antioxidants are chemicals that aid in the protection of the organism against the detrimental effects of free radicals.
Antioxidants have been demonstrated in studies to help prevent various chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins, a pigment having antioxidant qualities that can protect cells, are abundant in eggplants.
Heart Disease Risk May Be Reduced
Some studies suggest that eggplants may help reduce the risk of heart disease due to their antioxidant content.
In one study, rabbits with elevated cholesterol were given 0.3 ounces (10 ml) of eggplant juice twice a day for two weeks.
They had decreased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides at the end of the research, two blood markers that, when raised, can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Eggplants have also been shown to have a heart-protective impact in other research.
Blood sugar control may be improved.
Including eggplants in your diet may assist you in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
This is due to eggplants’ high fiber content, allowing them to move through the digestive system without damage. Fiber can help reduce blood sugar levels by reducing the rate of sugar breakdown and absorption. Rate Slower absorption avoids blood sugar spikes and crashes by keeping blood sugar levels consistent. Other research suggests that polyphenols, or natural plant components, found in foods such as eggplant may help lower blood sugar by reducing sugar absorption and increasing insulin secretion.
Could Assist in Weight Loss
Eggplants are high in fibre and low in calories, so they’re a great complement to any weight-loss diet. Fiber passes slowly through the digestive tract, promoting fullness and satiety while lowering calorie intake.
Raw eggplant contains 3 grammes of fibre and only 20 calories per cup (82 grammes) (2). In addition, eggplants are frequently used in dishes as a high-fiber, low-calorie substitute for higher-calorie components.
It’s possible that it can help you fight cancer.
Several chemicals found in eggplant have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs), for example, are a chemical found in nightshade vegetables like eggplant.
SRGs have been proven in animal studies to promote cancer cell death and may also help decrease the recurrence of certain types of cancer.
SRGs have been demonstrated to be particularly effective against skin cancer when administered directly to the skin, even though research on the subject is limited.
Why do you Soak Eggplant Before Cooking?
Most eggplants today have been developed to be less bitter, but you come across a bitter one at the supermarket. Every now and then, It’s usually because the eggplant you picked is a little past its prime. The longer an eggplant rests after being harvested, the more likely it is to become bitter.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how long eggplants have been hanging about when you go grocery shopping, so there’s a big chance you’ll end up with a bitter eggplant at some time. Fortunately, there are a few techniques for reducing the bitterness of eggplant.
Salting your eggplant can help to soothe the harsh flavour, however not everyone agrees on how effectively it works. Some argue that it doesn’t remove the bitterness but rovers the flavour and fools us into thinking it’s better. In any case, adding a generous amount of salt on your eggplant slices or cubes reduces the bitterness while also drawing out some moisture.
Another lesser-known approach that is claimed to perform miracles is soaking eggplant slices or cubes in milk for about thirty minutes before cooking. The milk not only seems to wash away the harshness of the eggplant, but it also adds a creamy texture to the vegetable.
How to Tell if Eggplant is Bad?
On both the inside and outside, the colour of the eggplant is crucial. Examine the stem and top of the eggplant when inspecting the outside. Both should have a fresh, green appearance. If the colour of the vegetable starts to fade, it’s a sign that it’s about to deteriorate. If the stem or cap of the eggplant has mold on it, throw that as well.
The flesh of the eggplant should be white when viewed from the inside. It’s advisable to toss the vegetable if there are any brown or dark patches in the flesh—there is one exception to this guideline. Eggplant is prone to enzymatic browning, which occurs when fruits and vegetables are exposed to air and begin to brown.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to eggplant texture. Take a peek at the eggplant peel first. If the skin is cracked or shriveled, don’t do it. The skin of an excellent eggplant should be shiny and taut. You should also check the texture of the flesh. When buying eggplant, look for firm flesh that gives slightly when pressed but bounces back. If your eggplant feels squishy to the touch, it’s starting to rot. Furthermore, if the flesh of the eggplant is slimy, you should discard it.
The last thing to look for is the scent of the veggie. Another clue that the eggplant has gone bad is if it emits an unpleasant or unusual odor. When you buy eggplant, it should smell like an eggplant: fresh and earthy. In the kitchen, eggplant is a workhorse. From curry to casseroles, the glossy nightshade can be utilised in various tasty dishes. However, like any other product, eggplant can quickly spoil if not properly preserved.
The good news is that eggplants can be used interchangeably regardless of kind. Some have softer skin, fewer seeds, and a milder flavor, but they all have one thing in common: spongy flesh that absorbs flavours well and may be converted from toothsome to velvety.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that many cooks are hesitant to use. Cooking eggplant seems to have a lot of rules (and stages) to follow in order to make it delicious and prevent a slimy, bitter mess. However, knowing how to cook eggplant isn’t exactly a difficult task.