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Teach me how to Cook Japanese Eggplant properly

daily_unadventures Jun 4, 2007 01:05 PM

I love eggplant in Thai curries and I am determined to get the consistency right. However every time I have tried it it either ends up rubbery or overcooked to the point of falling out of it's skin. I have all the ingredients (mmm fresh lime leaves) to try again tonight but would like some pointers. Should I cook it separately then add it to the curry or just throw it right away? High heat or low heat? What size should the pieces be?

Everyone was so helpful about my sauce post I thought I would try my luck again.


  1. Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2007 02:14 PM

    Japanese eggplant are thin, elongated, and purple. Thai eggplant are small, round, and variegated. Which do you mean?

    Either way, cubed Japanese or whole Thai eggplant should go in last with the coconut milk and other last minute ingredients (like fish sauce, lime leaf, fresh chili...) at high heat and need only 3-4 minutes prior to serving.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
      daily_unadventures Jun 4, 2007 02:29 PM

      Thin elongated and purple, I am afraid those are usually the kind I can find in these parts. Maybe that is why I don't get the consistency.

      High as in boiling?

      1. re: daily_unadventures
        Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2007 03:55 PM

        Yes, Japanese aggplants. Perfectly good. If you're making a Thai curry using the throw-in-the-coconut milk last method, bring that to or almost to a boil, turn down to simmer (although the curry will continue to boil for a bit), toss in the last bits including eggplant. In other words the eggplant only needs 3-4 minutes very low boil/simmer.

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
          daily_unadventures Jun 4, 2007 04:42 PM

          Thanks very much! I will give it a shot tonight.

          1. re: daily_unadventures
            daily_unadventures Jun 5, 2007 08:28 AM

            I did this last night and I think it was still a bit undercooked, however the pieces left in the curry after I ate were just about right, so I think it needed more in the order of 6-8 minutes but it could have been related to how big the pieces I cut were.

            Thanks again!

            1. re: daily_unadventures
              Sam Fujisaka Jun 5, 2007 10:02 AM

              Katerina, sorry about that. I should have mentioned that I cut up everything quite small for my curries.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                daily_unadventures Jun 5, 2007 10:21 AM

                No worries, they are always quite chunky when I have them out so I went with that.. next time I will know! And I have sooo many lime leaves that I am sure I will do this again very soon.


                1. re: daily_unadventures
                  Sam Fujisaka Jun 5, 2007 08:17 PM

                  Also, Thai eggplant are about the size of large peas!

                  email also (s.fujisaka@cgiar.org).

              2. re: daily_unadventures
                bbc Jun 5, 2007 10:28 PM

                I generally cook the meat with the curry paste on highish heat first (actually, i follow the directions on the curry container), then add eggplant & toss some more (minute or two), then cover & steam a bit (few mins) on lower heat, then throw in mushrooms, then the rest of the veggies, which is just before it's all done.

                You could always taste along the way?? Depending on what other veggies you use you if you put them in after the EP is done there's the potential they'll get wrinkly & overcooked, but that happens with leftovers anyway & I still love them...

                practice makes perfect ...mmmm eggplant.

                1. re: bbc
                  daily_unadventures Jun 6, 2007 03:50 PM

                  Practice totally does make perfect, it is just one of the things I tend to screw up. I stir fried the leftovers last night and they weren't quite right. I did taste it as I went but they tasted a bit chalky. Darn it, I am making this way more difficult then it needs to be.

                  1. re: daily_unadventures
                    bbc Jun 6, 2007 06:47 PM

                    if you love it, you'll keep on trying & i'm sure it will improve.
                    maybe your heat is too high? does chalky mean too rubbery like before or overcooked? is it just the texture that's not quite right?

                    i remember having difficulty with eggplant too in the beginning - it's not quick like green veggies nor like meat - somewhere in between. what kind of pan are you using? (now i'm making it complicated)... :)

                    1. re: bbc
                      daily_unadventures Jun 7, 2007 06:10 PM

                      haha, no please be complicated thats good. I am using a capahlon "stir-fry" pan. And generally medium heat - but I have a hot stove, so medium to high?

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