Brinjal is a member of the Solanaceae family, which are also known as nightshades. They are cousins to tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Some varieties look like eggs and hang from vines, while others actually hang from vines. This is why they are called Eggplants.
The skin is usually a deep purple color and is shiny. However, the flesh is creamy and spongy. Asia is home to a wider variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The colours range from white to yellow, reddish-purple to dark purple, black, and so on. A variety of green brinjals is available with white stripes.
Although the taste and texture of different varieties may vary, they all have a mild bitter flavor. If you need to reduce the bitterness, but it is not necessary most of the time, slice the brinjal and sprinkle salt evenly on it. Mix well. After 10 minutes, rinse well and then use as needed.
Brinjal cubes – Wash the medium-sized brinjals and dry them on a towel before cubing. To cut the stem into halves, cut off the stem. Place each halve on a cutting board with the purple skin facing up. Make three vertical slits along each halve. To make cubes, cut each vertical slit in half again. You can make cubes by making finer or more narrow slits depending on the size of your brinjal and the recipe. Cubes of brinjal are often used in stews, gravies, and dry subzis.
Brinjal slices – Wash brinjals and dry them on a towel. You can cut off the stem, then slice into equal-sized rounds according to the recipe. Start by making horizontal cuts at one end of each brinjal. Brijals can be sliced and used for baking and grilling.
Chopped brinjals – Wash the brinjals in medium size, dry, and then chop them on a cutting board. To cut the stem into halves, cut off the top. Place each halve on a cutting board with the purple skin facing up. Now make 6 to 7 vertical cuts along each halve. To chop brinjal, combine all vertical slits and make equal cuts. You can make finer or more narrow slits depending on the size of your brinjal and the recipe. You can use chopped brinjal in stir fries, or as fillings for tarts and quiches.
Fried brinjals – For medium-sized brinjals, wash them, dry, and then place them on a cutting board. The stem can be cut off. The brinjal can be cut into rounds, quarters or cubes. If you are deep-frying brinjal roundels without using any batter, make sure that the oil is hot enough to fry them. Reduce the heat and add the roundsels one at a time to the hot oil. Deep fry until crisp and semi-golden brown. Transfer excess oil to absorbent paper. As many times as you need. For starters, deep-fried brinjals can be used in pickles.
Roasted brinjal – Wash brinjals and dry them on a towel before roasting. Don’t cut the stem. Rub the brinjal with oil, then place it on a gas stove. Continue turning the brinjal until you see the skin becoming black. Then, start peeling off the one end. It will become charred from all sides and crack the skin, making it easy to peel off. You will see the inner flesh, which may be soft and visible. Let cool completely. To speed up the process of peeling, you can immerse the skin in water. The pulp of roasted brinjal can be used in dips, spreads, and gravies.
Brinjal sliced – Wash the brinjals and dry them on a towel. To cut the stem into halves, cut off the stem. Place each halve on a cutting board with the purple skin facing up. Now make vertical slits on each halve at equal intervals to create slices. Alternately, you can also make horizontal slits. You can make thinner or finer slices depending on the size of your brinjal and the recipe. When you need to layer vegetables, brinjal slices can be used. You can also use them to make fritters instead of roundels.
How to choose brinjal/baingan/eggplant
There are different varieties, colors and sizes (from the size of a big tomato to the size of a gourd) to choose from. Whichever variety you choose, make sure the vegetable is firm to handle, free of blemishes, cuts or any small holes. The color of the stem should be bright green.
Culinary uses for brinjal/baingan/eggplant
Bharwan Baingan is a perfect example of Punjabi Cuisine using spices. It features a rich besan with jaggery-based stuffing.
Brinjal is versatile enough to be used with other vegetables. Aloo Baingan has been a traditional Indian staple. However, adding saunf to it gives it a unique taste that’s hard not to like. A combination of curds, Kalonji and other spices creates a slightly subzi called Achaari Baingan.
A dish with roast brinjals gives it a delicious, earthy taste. When cooked with onions and tangy tomatoes, they make a wonderful subzi of Baingan Bharta. Another subzi is called Baingan Musasalam and has a similar flavour profile. It comes from the Mughals.
Baingan Potato, Green Peas Sabzi are a classic recipe that can’t be beat. You can mix different vegetables to create different flavours and textures.
1. Brinjal can also be used in braising, stir-frying, baking and deep frying. It is a versatile ingredient.
It can be used to make dips, sauces, and chutneys. To roast brinjals, coat the brinjal in oil and place it on an open fire. It is done when the skin begins to peel and the flesh feels soft, juicy and tender. Remove the outer skin and cool it. To make smooth brinjal pulp, blend the pulp in a mixer. To make brinjal-raitha, combine the pulp with curds. You can also combine the pulp with red chillies or urad dal to make spicy chutneys.
2. Brinjal pulp can also be used to make the famous Punjabi delicacy, “Baingan ka bharta”, which is brinjal pulp mixed with garlic, onions and tomatoes. Hot tandoori bread is served alongside it.
3. Deep-fried brinjals may be preserved and used to accompany rice.
4. The brinjal pulp is mixed with tahini (sesame seeds paste), garlic, and lemon juice to create a Middle Eastern dip called Baba Ghanoush. This dip can be served with bread sticks, crackers and other snacks. This dip can be used to make sandwiches or as a topping for canapes.
It is used by the Chinese for braised egg plants, stewed eggplants, and stir-fried rice.
5. The role of brinjals is important in the French steed recipe Raatouille. It’s a flavorful accompaniment to French dishes and is often cooked with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.
6. Brinjals can be cut in half and baked until semi-cooked. The inside flesh is removed, and the mixture of herbs and cheese is then used to stuff the brinjals. The cheese is then added to the mixture and gratinated until it melts. Melanzane alla Parmigiana is the Italian name for this dish.
7. Brinjals can be cubed and used as a vegetable in South India, such as in sambhar, Kootu (dal-based gravies), Avial, etc.
8. In Maharashtra, Brinjals can be stir-fried and mixed with rice to make spicy Bhaat. The baby brinjals are cut into four pieces, keeping the stem intact. They then get stuffed with peanut, sesame, and spicy coconut stuffing. This is Masale chi Vaangi.
To make fritters or patodas, slice large brinjals into thin slices. Dip them in a spiced flour batter. Serve with tomato sauce, chaat masala and a sprinkle of chaat powder.
Baked brinjals can be used in salads. Mix cubed and baked brinjals together with grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, baby Corn, and zucchini. Add crushed garlic and balsamic vinegar to finish.
How to store brinjal/baingan/eggplant
Avoid cutting brinjals. They can quickly perish if their skin is punctured or exposed to the inner flesh. Keep uncut brinjals in an airtight bag or plastic bag, and keep them in the fridge.
The health benefits of brinjal/baingan/eggplant
1. Diabetics will find this useful
Glycemic Index 15 in Brinjal is very low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. The GI of foods ranges from 0-50 to 51-69 to medium, 70-100 to high. High GI foods are not recommended for weight loss or diabetics. Brinjal, which has a low GI, doesn’t spike glucose levels as it is absorbed slowly. Low carb recipe like Baingan Bhaja can be enjoyed by diabetics.
2. Ideal for weight loss
Brinjal has low calories. A cup of chopped brinjal has only 30 calories. This can help you manage your weight. It has negligible fat and bulk, which can help you eat less between meals. It promotes weight loss. Hyderabadi Baingan Subzi can be used for Lunch and Dinner, if you are trying to lose weight.
3. Fibre content is high
Brinjals are an excellent source of fiber. For regular bowel movements, include a variety of fruits & vegetables. Fibre is a laxative that can prevent or treat constipation. Fibre helps maintain weight and reduces fat absorption. Fibre is also good for diabetics.
It’s a great source of dietary fibre and minerals such as manganese and copper.
* It also contains Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B6, folate and magnesium.
* Brinjal is rich in phytonutrients that include phenolic substances. These compounds are antioxidants. These phytonutrients include nasunin and chlorogenic acid, which are powerful antioxidants that prevent the formation of free radicals. This protects cell membranes from harm.
Glycemic Index 15 for Brinjal is very low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. The GI of foods ranges from 0-50 to 51-69 to medium, 70-100 to high. High GI foods are not recommended for diabetics or weight loss. Brinjal, for example, has a low GI. They are absorbed slowly so they don’t spike glucose levels. This is a great food for weight loss.