Thursday, October 8, 2009
(title courtesy of the book by Jenni Ferrari-Adler)
I couldn't resist using this title, which is borrowed from a book I recently read named just that "Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant" by Ms. Jenni Ferrari-Adler , and I highly recommend it. It's a book about cooking in the kitchen for just yourself and you may find it quite intriguing as well as entertaining.
Regardless, this post is not about that book. It's about eggplants (which are still in season, I'm happy to say). Eggplants are a little daunting to cook at times, but they are also incredibly rewarding once you get it down. And here's the medicinal facts on them: they are cooling in thermal nature (meaning you can treat "hot" conditions with them), with a sweet flavor, and they are used to reduce swelling; clear stagnant blood (an example being tumors - though of course you should be seeing a doctor if you have a tumor as well!); uterine fibroids; bleeding hemmorhoids; in fact they treat bleeding disorders in general. Eggplants are also used to treat dysentery. It is advised that you not eat them often when pregnant as all these properties involving reducing swelling and stopping bleeding can be harmful if a woman is nourishing a fetus. There is of course even more to an eggplant, but I want to keep it relatively simple for these purposes. As always, if you want to know more feel free to email me directly. If you want to read a little more about the eggplants history and use go here.
Now, a recipe for how to use eggplant? Firstly, there are many many different kinds of eggplants, so it depends what kind you want to use. In Thailand they use them raw (the little ones), they char them, they roast them, fry them, and steam them. I could go on but I'm just going to share a recipe from a friend who I share a similar palate as well as obsession with good food with! Here is her wonderful take on a Thai eggplant salad, word for word:
4-5 long green eggplants (you can use long purple ones too but they're a little less firm)
2 eggs - hard boiled and cut into wedges
4 shallots - finely sliced
2 red thai chillis - finely sliced
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1 small garlic clove - very finely minced
Blacken and blister the eggplants over an open flame (I just use the stove burners) - this will give them a lovely rich smokey flavour. Then bake them in a medium oven for 15-20 mins until they're tender but not too soft. Peel, cool and cut into chunks.
For the dressing, muddle the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic well. Throw in the shallots and chilli, stir, then pour over eggplant chunks. Garnish with the eggs.
You can also add a few cooked shrimp as a garnish.
And if you are still itching for more recipes, here is another version of an eggplant salad with grilled shrimp that was recently in the New York Times: Grilled Shrimp and Eggplant With Asian Fish Sauce and Mint.