Also Known As
Round Eggplant, Round Aubergine, Gol Baingan, Gol Vaangi
Round Brinjal belongs to the family of Solanaceae, also commonly known as nightshades, and are cousins of potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers. They hang from vines and some varieties actually look egg shaped- which is why the name "Eggplants".
The skin is glossy and usually deep purple in color, while the flesh is creamish and spongy in texture. Colours vary from white, green to reddish-purple, dark purple, black etc. It usually has a mild bitter taste. To reduce the bitterness (if required- it is actually not required most of the times), slice the brinjal, sprinkle salt evenly over it and mix well. Rinse well after 10 minutes and use as required. They are larger in size compared to other brinjals and take relatively more time to cook. Thus roasting is the best option.
To roast round brinjals, wash, pat dry and place on a chopping board. Do not cut off the stem. Smear the brinjal with some oil and place on gas stove on direct flame. Keep turning the sides when you see the skin of the brinjal getting black and trying to peel off from one end.. When roasted from all sides, it will be charred and the skin will be cracked and wil be easy to peel off. The inner flesh will be visible and soft and may ooze out some juices. Allow to cool completely. You may immerse in water and then peel the skin off which will aid in quick peeling. Roasted brinjal is usually pulped in a blender and then used to make dips, spreads, chutneys and some gravies.
How to select
Ensure that the vegetable is firm to handle, free from blemishes, cuts or any tiny holes. The stem should be bright green in colour. The most common round brinjal are white or purple in colour.
· Round Brinjal can be used in recipes that require braising, roasting, deep frying etc.
· It is used commonly in a pureed form to make dips, chutneys etc. In order to roast brinjals, smear the brinjal with some oil and then place on open fire and roast. When the skin starts to peel off and the flesh feels soft and juicy, it is well roasted. Cool and peel off the outer skin. Blend in a mixer or pulp using your hands to get smooth brinjal pulp. This pulp can be combined with curds and a basic tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves to make brinjal raitha. Alternatively, combine with red chillies and urad dal make spicy chutneys.
· Brinjal pulp is also used to make the delicious and well known Punjabi delicacy "Baingan ka bharta" which is brinjal pulp cooked with garlic, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice and spices. It is served with hot tandoori rotis.
· Deep fried brinjals can be pickled and used as an accompaniment with rice.
· Brinjal pulp is blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic and lemon juice to make a famous Middle eastern dip called Baba Ghanoush. Serve this dip with crackers, bread sticks etc. This dip can also be used as a spread for sandwiches, as a topping on canapés etc.
· Chinese use it for recipes like stewed eggplants, braised egg plants etc which goes as an accompanying dish to noodles, stir fried rice etc.
· Slice large brinjals thinly, dip in a spiced gram flour batter and deep fry to make fritters or pakodas. Sprinkle chaat masala on top and serve with tomato sauce etc.
· Use baked brinjals in salads. Combine cubed and baked brinjals with grilled vegetables like bell peppers, baby corn, zucchini and top with crushed garlic and a balsamic vinaigrette.
How to store
Do not cut brinjals before you store it as it perishes quickly once its skin has been punctured or its inner flesh is exposed. Place uncut brinjals in a zip lock bag or plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
· It is a good source of dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, copper and potassium.
· It is also a good source of Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin.
· Brinjal contains phytonutrients which include phenolic compounds. These compounds act as antioxidants. Two such phytonutrients are chlorogenic acid and nasunin which are potent antioxidants and thus prevents formation of free radicals, thereby protecting cell membranes from damage.
Round Brinjal Cubes
To cube round brinjals, wash, pat dry and place on a chopping board. Cut off the stem and make a cut from the centre to cut into halves. Now, place each halve on the chopping board, with the purple skin facing you and make 6 to 7 vertical slits lengthwise on each halve. Cut each vertical slit again into 6 to 7 equal pieces breadthwise to get cubes. Make finer or thicker slits to cut cubes according to recipe requirement. Round Brinjal cubes are commonly used in gravies, stews and dry subzis.
Chopped Round Brinjals
To chop round brinjals, wash, pat dry and place on a chopping board. Cut off the stem and make a cut from the centre to cut into halves. Now, place each halve on the chopping board, with the purple skin facing you and make 10 to 12 vertical slits lengthwise on each halve. Combine all the vertical slits together and cut at equal intervals to get chopped brinjal. Make finer or thicker slits to chop according to recipe requirement. Chopped round brinjal is commonly used in stir fries or to make fillings for savoury quiche, tarts etc.
Sliced Round Brinjal
To slice medium sized brinjals, wash, pat dry and place on a chopping board. Cut off the stem and make a cut from the centre to cut into halves. Now, place each halve on the chopping board, with the purple skin facing you and make vertical slits at equal intervals on each halve to get slices. The same slits can alternatively be made horizontally too. Make finer or thicker slices according to recipe requirement. Round Brinjal slices are commonly used in baked recipes where you have to layer the vegetables. They can also be used instead of roundels to make fritters.