Round or oval eggplants really do resemble their namesake. The name eggplant was apparently given by the Europeans in the eighteenth century because the variety they knew then had fruits whose shape, size, and color looked like goose eggs. In Malaysia, these round eggplants are known as Indian eggplants or brinjals, used mainly in curries and sambals.
Indian eggplants have a tougher skin and a firmer texture. When cooked they become creamy, sweet, and tender. They also retain their shape if not overcooked. Their coloration vary from ivory white through shades of green to the deepest purple. The most common being the deep purple variety.
The Indian grocery store I frequent always has a supply of these deep purple round eggplants. Whenever I pay them a visit, I can’t resist bringing home a few. These eggplants are “meaty” and can hold their own as a vegan or vegetarian dish. However, they also combine really well with meats and seafood.
The last time I featured round eggplants was in a coconut based curry with shrimps. I also used them in my version of vegetable moussaka. This time I decided to pair them with their namesake, the egg, in a spicy and tangy curry. We really enjoyed the combination as it was very tasty and appetising. The eggs and creamy eggplants offset the sharp taste of the curry very nicely and the eggs gave the curry a nice contrast of colors. Of course the eggs may be omitted for a vegan version instead.
- ¼ cup (60ml) canola oil
- 1 lb (450g) round eggplants
- 1 tsp tamarind paste (soup base mix)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 hard cooked eggs
- 6 red jalapeno chilies, seeded and cut into small pieces
- 1 stalk lemon grass, sliced bottom third into rings
- 1-in knob ginger, peeled
- 1 medium sized onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
Blend all spice paste ingredients with as little water as possible until fine.
In a medium sized pot, heat canola oil. Add ground spice paste and stir for 5 minutes until cooked and fragrant.
Add eggplants and stir to get them coated with spice paste. Pour in 1¼ cups (300ml) water and bring to a boil. Add tamarind paste, sugar, and salt. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until eggplants are not quite tender as yet.
Add eggs and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Turn off heat and let curry sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!