Eggplants is a fleshy & fibrous low-calorie veggie that is relished in diverse ways across the world. They can be grilled with oil & spices, baked with cheese, sautéed with other vegetables! Having a good quality eggplant can always make the dish taste better! Therefore, let’s begin with some pointers on picking a good eggplant before moving on to how to cook eggplant in 3 different ways!
How to Pick a Good Eggplant: 4 Pointers to Keep in Mind
Go with shiny & smooth-skinned eggplants having even color throughout!
It suggests that they were harvested recently and are still fresh. Avoid buying eggplants with dull skin (indicates bad storage), wrinkled skin (they are aged & bitter), discolored skin or streaked skin.
Choose eggplants with undamaged spot-free firm surface!
Confirm the veggie’s firmness with the finger-pressing test! A good eggplant will return back to the original shape once the finger is removed. If the dent remains, the vegetable is old so best not buy it. Avoid selecting those with a soft surface (shows it’s over-ripened) and damaged or spotted surface (it means the area beneath the spot has started decaying already).
Opt for eggplants having vibrant greenish mold-free stem!
Even if the eggplant looks perfect, do not purchase the veggie if you notice the stem looks mushy, moldy, dried out or brown in color. All these are signs that the eggplant is past its best edible stage.
Heavy small-sized eggplants are a great pick!
The key is to find the weighty eggplants that are young & small/medium-sized! These types taste sweet, have a softer flesh, contain lesser seeds and the thin skin isn’t bitter. Matured eggplants are large with bitter & thick skin, tougher flesh and lots of seeds.
How to Cook Eggplant in the Oven
It takes about an hour to prep and cooks eggplants in the oven.
Things you’ll need:
- 1 Globe Eggplant (or 2 Japanese Eggplants)
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoons paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Knife, parchment paper & Oil brush
Cooking Process: Oven-Baked
Step 1: Set the oven at 400°F for preheating.
Step 2: Cut off the stem & bottom of the eggplant and discard them. Cut it lengthwise in half. Now, score the flesh-side of both the eggplant pieces.
Step 3: Sprinkle the flesh-side of the scored eggplant pieces with salt and place it flesh-side down on a paper towel for 30 minutes to drain out the excess water.
Step 4: Line the baking tray with parchment paper and place the eggplant pieces skin-side down.
Step 5: In a bowl, pour the oil. Add the paprika, garlic, and pepper. Give it a quick whisk.
Step 6: Brush the oil mixture on the flesh-side of both the eggplant pieces.
Step 7: Place the baking tray in the oven for 25-35 minutes.
Before serving, let the eggplants cool for a few minutes. You can enjoy them with the skin along with a bowl of fresh salad. You can also remove the skin, mash the soft-baked flesh with a fork, add a tablespoon of lime juice and make a delicious dip.
How to Cook Eggplant on the Stove
You can roast a whole eggplant on the stove within 20 minutes.
Things you’ll need:
- 1 Globe Eggplant with stem
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- Paper towel
- Fork & Wire Rack
Step 1: Wash the eggplant and dry it completely with a paper towel.
Step 2: Now poke the eggplant all over with a fork.
Step 3: Pour the oil on the eggplant and massage it all over the surface.
Step 4: Turn on the stove to high flame and place a wire rack.
Step 5: Place the oiled eggplant on the wire rack and roast it all over by slowly turning it around with the help of the stem.
Step 6: After 15-20 minutes when the eggplant is roasted all over, transfer it to a plate and let it cool down. Cut off and discard the stem side.
To serve, remove the charred peel (or not) and mash up the flesh using a fork. Season with salt and your favorite spices!
In case the stem is missing or it accidentally breaks while prepping, you can poke two forks at both ends of the eggplant to help turn it while roasting on the stove.
How to Cook Eggplant in the Pan
Pan-frying eggplant requires 10 minutes!
Things you’ll need:
- 1 medium-sized Globe Eggplant
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- Kosher Salt
- A non-stick pan, oil-brush & a pair of tongs
- Place the pan on the stove and let it heat over medium flame.
- Cut the eggplant into half an inch thick disks. Discard both ends.
- Place the eggplant disks side by side on the chopping board. Brush each disk with oil on the top flesh-side and sprinkle some salt.
- Pour the rest of the oil in the pan and swirl the pan to spread the oil all over.
- Place the disks (oil-brushed side up) on the pan without overlapping. Turn the flame to low and fry for 4-5 minutes.
- Flip the disks using tongs and fry the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the mouthwateringly pan-fried eggplant disks on a plate using the tongs. Be careful as they tend to become very soft and might break. Top them with fresh herbs, aromatic spices, cheese, or dry roasted nuts and devour to your heart’s content.
Now, you know how to cook eggplant in 3 different apparatus. Pan-frying eggplants is the quickest way out of the 3 cooking methods. But, depending on the size of the pan, you might need to fry them in batches which can be time-consuming.