Tale of Eggplants
Eggplant.I heard this word first time before my intended trip to US decade ago.It was the part of vocabulary list in culture training,prepared for Indians S/W associates traveling to work onsite at US and I was the part of that group.Hmmmm…i thought fancy word for what i had known as ‘Brinjal’ in Indian english.’Aubergine’ as I later came to know its ‘European’ Synonym.In Hindi we call it,’Baingan‘ and the people who hate this vegetable,distort it to say it as ‘Bay-goon'(meaning ‘of no quality’)as local slang.Funny,isn’t it?
During my first purchase of eggplants at supermarket here,i realized that saying it as ‘eggplant’ wasn’t enough,as I found out at the checking counter when the clerk looked through the long list of laminated sheets.It took him quite a while as most of them don’t know what vegetables it is to begin with.So you can guess it is not very popular vegetable among Americans.I also found out there are two distinct kind of eggplants sold here.
Asian: Long,slander,non-bitter,soft inside,thin-skinned version is labeled as ‘Japanese’ or ‘Chinese’ eggplant.Purple skin.I do not know why they are not called ‘consistently’ one or other.I call it Asian to unify everyone. Indian version comes in smooth purple,smooth and freckled light green and white.Half the length of their ‘Japanese/Chinese’ brothers.It tastes the same as what I had growing up.
Italian-This version is plump and big,almost double-triple the size of Chinese eggplant,not as long though.4-5 times of their Indian cousins,thicker skinned,you can say Chinese eggplant on steroid.Purple color.Bitter than Asian version.They are popular in dishes such as Eggplant Parmigiano,Moussaka because it has larger surface area to layer it with toppings.My guess and it is only my guess,that what South Indian,round ‘Brinjal’ looks like in maturity,is what these Italian eggplant look like when they are newborn.
I like this vegetable as usual.Asian over the Italian version.I often make this quick eggplant side dish .Keep looking for the posts on how i use them time to time.