Brinjals, aubergines, baingans or egg plants. What ridiculous names for such a firm, fleshy and delicious vegetable.
The dark purple shiny skins always look so beautiful when piled high at markets and they are a versatile and interesting addition to a dish or menu.
The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.
The aubergine is thought to be of Indian origin and records show that it was being cultivated in China in the fifth century. From around the fifteenth century it became increasingly popular in Mediterranean Europe and has long been established in classic dishes such as moussaka (from Greece) and ratatouille (southern France). Influential cookery writer Elizabeth David played a significant role in bringing the aubergine to the attention of the British in the mid-twentieth century.
Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape and color, especially purple, green, or white. There are even orange varieties. The most widely cultivated varieties in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 12–25 cm wide and 6–9 cm broad in a dark purple skin. A much wider range of shapes, sizes and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia.
Aubergines are a good source of fibre, folic acid and potassium. The colour of the skin is a result of the presence of anthocyanins - compounds with antioxidant properties.
You can try your hand at some of our wonderful recipes;
Beef and brinjal kebabs
Roast vegetable and cheese pie
Brinjal and spinach bake with three cheeses
Blue cheese and vegetable pasta
Chicken and brinjal stew
Kingklip fillets with marinated aubergines