by Kai Chan
Asian eggplants differ from the globe shaped eggplants commonly found here, they have a long and slender look. Though their taste is similar to the other ones, they have a softer texture and are sweeter, as well as juicer. David Tanis used this type of eggplant for “grilled eggplant paste”, a wonderful hors d’oeuvre when served with slices of baguette or on crackers. I have adapted this recipe here.
Cut two eggplants into half length and put them over a gas stove flame to grill with a mesh screen underneath, turning frequently, until the skins are blackened and the flesh is soft. Set aside to cool. Remove the charred skin and chop the flesh coarsely and put it into a bowl. Add the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, 2 teaspoons each of chopped capers, chopped parsley, chives and 1 garlic clove smashed with a little salt to make a paste. Stir in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
I also like to steam these eggplants. Cut two or three of Asian eggplants into quarters, lengthwise, then cut them into 3 inches pieces. Steam the eggplant for about 10 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Make a sauce using light soy sauce to which add 2 or 3 chopped scallions, and some chopped fresh chilli ( I prefer Thai bird chilli ), then add 2 tablespoons of boiling vegetable oil. Pour the source into the bowl of steamed eggplants, mix well and serve warm.
The Raw and the Cooked, MYTHOLOGIQUES is a new column on the culture of eating and cooking, with contributions by various authors. The column name is borrowed from the title of a book by Claude Levi-Strauss. It is spontaneous, a little amusing but serious at the same time.