Ingredient of the Week: Thai Eggplant

Categories: The Basics

Thumbnail image for ThaiEggplant.jpg
add1sun
What is it?
As you can see, they look like babies of the large, purple eggplants we're used to seeing in the grocery store. They're denser and firmer in texture than their larger, Western counterparts.

The difference in texture and flavor led me to believe that these tiny eggplants were simply unripe versions of the large, purple ones, but turns out, they're an entirely different variety altogether.

Personally, I thought the taste was too bitter and starchy to ever try again, but perhaps I didn't use the right recipe or got a bad batch.

How is it used?
In Thailand, they're often used in curries and many people prefer them without the seeds (maybe that was my mistake when I cooked them). They are also sliced thin and eaten raw with spices or pickled.

Where can I find it?
My favorite store when it comes to Ingredient of the Week posts, Super H Mart.

Recipe:
Jungle Curry with Pork and Thai Eggplant: Courtesy of Epicurious.com.

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14 comments
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PattyT
PattyT

To reduce the bitterness of eggplant cut or chop it as called for in the recipe, place it in a colander, sprinkle and toss with salt, let set for about 30 minutes, rinse with water, then proceed with your recipe.

thefifthtaster
thefifthtaster

I am so in love with Thai eggplant. They do have a lot of it in the green and red curry at Asia Market, but that's one of the reasons why I like their curry so much. It does a great job of soaking in the flavor. I actually buy fresh eggplants there and attempt to replicate the dish at home. If I don't cook them long enough they are a little bitter. That could have been part of your problem.

trisch
trisch

You probably did use them correctly. Last time I was in Thailand, they were everywhere in almost every dish at every restaurant. Like you, I find them bitter and texturally unfulfilling as well. I did enjoy them for a bit of contrast if there are only a few in a curry. But by the end of my trip to Thailand, I was picking them out of my food and leaving a pile of them on my plate. Hopefully my Thai colleagues were not offended!

Darcywep
Darcywep

Used to great effect in Kanomwan's Gang Ped...a really knock-out, off the beaten path recipe.

Eliwq
Eliwq

might be called Pad Ped

guest
guest

It would be neat if your ingredient of the week could be something in-season. Eggplants grow in the summer.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

I'm definitely open to suggestions for next week's Ingredient.

trisch
trisch

How about rutabagas? Or sunchokes?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Rutabaga! Amber, you have to make neeps and tatties. HAVE TO. Or just mash the boiled rutabaga up with some boiled potatoes and carrots with some salt and butter. HEAVEN. I know, all caps, but seriously. AWESOME.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

Looks like we're going with rutabagas for next week's post. Thanks for the suggestion!

csoakley
csoakley

The Green Curry at Asia Market on Cavalcade is loaded with Thai eggplant. Too many in my opinion. If I try it again I may ask for something else instead. Asia Market has some Thai cookbooks sitting around for you to read while they cook your food. They say they will make you something from the cookbook if you like but I have never done that. Anyone ever take them up on that offer?

Kyle
Kyle

The green papaya salad is excellent but exercise extreme caution when specifying heat level. 'Hot' made me cry and I can't even imagine how bad 'Thousand Peppers' is.

Ramasute
Ramasute

You must love Anvil as well. Everything there is underpoured.

Kyle
Kyle

Non sequitur?

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