Around The World In 7 Eggplants - Brinjal Dishes You Should Try
Image Credit: Makdous

We often talk about the versatility of potatoes – most often aided by the wise words of one Mr. Samwise Gamgee – but there is another vegetable that seems to have mastered the art of culinary diversity and that is the humble eggplant. Yes, as children it was shunned for its squashy texture but as adults, most of us have come to appreciate its subtle flavour and comforting feeling. 

It comes from a plant species in the nightshade family in which the tomato and potato can also be counted so even though the name is a little morbid, it’s utterly for show. These vegetables often have a bad reputation because as they get older and larger, they sometimes take on a slight bitterness that isn’t present in the younger, fresher variants. But a lot of that can be treated by salting them before you cook.

In fact, one of the most admirable and useful qualities of the brinjal is its ability to take on almost any flavour and when cooked properly, it can utilise oil to create an almost buttery texture. This along with its firm flesh makes it a beloved addition to vegan menus as a meat substitute and it’s also made its way into every cuisine around the world. Let's travel with this much-maligned and misunderstood vegetable into some of its international avatars. 



5. Moussaka - Greece

In Greece they have a dish that’s very similar to a lasagna, although instead of pasta, they use delicious creamy eggplant instead. This casserole is made with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef which is then covered in a layer of béchamel sauce and sometimes topped with cheese before being baked.

6. Ratatouille- France

Made famous by one very industrious rat, this dish hails from Nice and is a French Provençal dish which is a cuisine that is hearty and honours local produce. Though the recipe differs slightly as per where you are the most common ingredients include tomato, garlic, onion, zucchini, brinjal, bell pepper and some combination of leafy green herbs cooked in layers.

7. Ajvar - Serbia

A popular condiment throughout the Balkan countries, Ajvar is made from red bell peppers, which are charred over a fire, peeled, and combined with roasted eggplant, garlic, oil, and vinegar. This relish is then bottled and stored through the year until the next harvest season and enjoyed with everything.