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Sep 4, 2006 07:26 PM

Ideas for pretty green Thai eggplant?

A local farmers market was selling these and they looked so pretty and fresh that I figured I'd buy some and figure out what to do with them later.

Here's a good picture and description

The recipes on the site are just regular eggplant recipes.

This site gets a little poetic about the the Thai eggplant ... "the culinary palate can dance like tomorrow" ... and said it can be eaten raw.

So I tried it raw. Actually it was pleasant and not bitter like the more common eggplant. The texture like a raw summer squash. The skin was really great with a crispy snap.

BUT ... I don't suggest it. There was a spicy flavor and heat to it ... and then my throat started to close up. This thing is a member of the nightshade family and I'm guessing should be cooked.

Too, bad, I was hoping to make some sort of fresh salsa out of them.

Unless I hear something better, I'm going to fry them like an eggplant and serve with sriracha ... and this is the advice I'm getting from the site that told me to eat it raw.

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  1. They are perfect in SE Asian curries, either green or red chile based, with coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves and/or juice, shallots, and chicken or duck. If you have chicken thighs and a good curry paste on hand, this is a very quick dinner to put together.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Terrie H.

      I second the curry... These type of eggplant along with chicken, green curry paste, basil and cocunut milk is a classic combination (Thai: gaeng keo wan gai)... I have always bought them with this prep in mind but would love to here about other good ideas.

      1. re: Pincho

        This is so lame, but I have never made curry in my life ... never even considered it. Could I buy a curry from a Thai place and add the eggplant?

        If I do that, how long would I cook it with the eggplant.

        1. re: rworange

          If you live someplace with Asian markets, go there and buy the separate ingredients and make your own batch of curry paste, and freeze in blobs for future use. I'll be happy to give you recipes if you would like them. Ingredients include lemongrass, coriander root, garlic, shallots, galangal, ginger, lime zest or leaves, hot chiles, shrimp paste....

          But, if you are geographically challenged on that, check your local supermarket -- many of them carry Mae Ploy brand (in a yogurt-sized tub) in the "Asian" aisle and you can use this as an easy base. They are really salty and need a little fresh garlic, ginger and lime to boost the flavors, but those ingredients are easy enough to keep on hand.

          Do a quick stir-fry of the curry paste and chunks of meat, deglaze the pan with the coconut milk, and add the halved or quartered eggplant after the meat has simmered in the coconut milk about 10 minutes. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so.

          This is easy, quick and by all means, use "lite" coconut milk if you aren't worried about authenticity but are worried about health. It is really tasty.

          1. re: rworange

            I usually don't make my own curry paste. I buy green curry paste at an asian grocer. But I agree with Terrie, it's typically too salty and not quite wonderful... very convenient though, especially since for me this is a good option for a quick weeknight meal. I'll have to whip up a batch and freeze it as Terrie suggests. Quality -AND- convenience, that's ideal!

            There are loads of recipes on the web, just search for "thai green curry paste" but I use one of my favorite cookbooks "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" by Jeffrey Alford:

            1. re: Pincho

              Yeah, folks, this is really so nice of you, but words like deglaze give me the vapors. I have to look up how to boil an egg in a cookbook every time.

              Really, I've been filling the Home Cooking board with my accomplishment of making jello. The best I'm going to do here is add them to an exixting curry from a restaurant if that sounds like it might work ... and even then I run the risk of burning down the house.

      2. I used them in a Thai Green Chicken Curry once and no-body, including TT, liked them. Most people thought they were green peas and were thoroughly disappointed to discover the little green spheres were something else.


        2 Replies
        1. re: TexasToast

          Heavens, TT,

          Just how big are peas in Texas? The Thai eggplant are as big as golf balls.

          1. re: rworange

            Things ARE bigger in Texas! I suppose these were the mini ones? They were tiny little pea sized and came on stems like little grapes. Like this:



        2. In my experience the thai eggplants are neither pea sized nor golf ball sized, but about the size of a quarter. You're lucky you got some at any rate! You can enjoy it added to takeout curry from a thai restaurant; I like green curry best with this kind of eggplant. Slice your eggplant in halves then stirfry in hot oil (not much) until soft but still snappy-crunchy; like the texture green of beans that are crisp tender. Cover pan with lid for a bit if you're in a hurry. Then add to curry. Makes a great textural contrast to the softer veggies in the curry.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Alice Patis

            Thanks Alice and all.

            I didn't read your post Alice until just after I ate them. I went with frying them like eggplant.

            Half I just sliced and fried in olive oil until each side was browned and slightly crisp with the interior creamy ... as an eggplant can be creamy.

            What ever it is in this that makes my throat swell, still did it cooked. They are a bit spicier than regular eggplant with the skin giving it a slight bitter edge.

            They really DO pair well with sriracha sauce. Spicy-wonderful ... let the throat swell.

            Doing nothing fancy and dipping them in flour was best. The crust added a little complexity to the taste.

            Next time I'll try adding them to green curry.

            1. re: Alice Patis

              Thai eggplants vary in size from about quarter-sized, to larger than golfball (I cooked some of these bigger ones just last night.)
              The much smaller eggplants that are the size of large peas, are a different type of eggplant. These are called Bitter Eggplants, and require a longer cooking time, and when done have a mild slightly starchy taste, similar to peas in fact.

              Also, in terms of the cooking times for curry given above, they are much too long. If your pieces of chicken (or other meat) are sliced into bite-size pieces, it shouldn't take more than about 5 minutes to cook. If you simmer for 20 minutes, your vegetables will most likely be mush and your meat dry and tough. Almost all Thai dishes take no more than a few minutes to cook, once your ingredients are all prepped.
              Also, there are two methods for starting a curry. One as described above, involves frying the curry paste briefly, but this can involve extra oil, and you could potentially burn the paste, developing off-flavors. The second method, which is what I was taught when in Thailand, involves bringing the coconut milk to a boil, until some oil separates out, then adding the curry paste and stirring until fully mixed. At this point, add your meat and cook for just a few minutes - it doesn't need to be fully cooked through yet. Then add your vegetables, and cook for a few more minutes, and you're ready to serve. I made this last night, and the eggplants required no more than 3-4 minutes to cook through, assuming you have them quartered and not whole.

              1. re: ADB

                Thanks for the additional info about the eggplant and the curry instructions. For some reason that actually seems doable to me. I can boil stuff.

                1. re: ADB

                  Ahhh, that would explain the pea-sized bitter eggplant then.


              2. I love those little eggplants, and especially raw (though I don't have any swelling reactions) in salads with tomatoes, greenbeans, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, dried shrimp and peanuts.
                I have also lightly steamed them and then tossed them with a vinagrette with lime juice, pureed cilantro leaves and roots, ginger, bird chilis and fish sauce.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ghbrooklyn

                  Mmmm ... that sounds good. Do those little eggplants have a spicy or slightly hot taste on their own to you?

                  I really liked the crunchy texture of the skin. Maybe it was just this partigular variety. I'm going to try others when I see them. Like that steaming idea.

                  1. re: rworange

                    yes I detect a slight sharpness in their taste too, which i think is in the skin. As with other nightshades I think this is tied into soil chemistry, at least as far as i have observed.

                2. I have a grilling addiction... are they grillable?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scooterpetooter

                    I don't know of any eggplant that isn't grillable.