What to do with skinny Thai eggplant?

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by siduri, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. siduri

    siduri

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    I got some of those skinny thai eggplants the other day and would like some ideas (not necessarily thai, not necessarily asian) on how to make them.   How are they cut? Are they used whole, or cut in one or two pleces?  Generally eggplant is cut so the flavoring can get inside, but how do you do these?  Thanks 
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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  3. siduri

    siduri

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    Yeah, koukouvagia, it's quite similar (I imagine there are different varieties) - mine are thinner and longer and more twisty, about the width of a finger.  The picture you posted seems like they're shorter and thicker - in which case cutting them in slices would make more sense. 
     
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I was a bit confused by the nomenclature. Most Thai eggplants I'm familiar with are small, round, and bitter. And many of them come in bright, almost neon-line, colors such as orange, green, and purple.

    The description (and picture) are more like the Ping Tong Long and similar Japanese eggplants---which, in their usual way, the celebrity chefs are calling "Asian." 

    Siduri, the answer to your questions are "yes." There are numerous ways of using them, and they can be sliced crossways, divided in half the long way, thinly sliced the long way, etc. I would suggest that you initially think of them as zucchini, and use them in that manner. Split and stuffed, for instance. Or cut in half and grilled. Or.....well, you get the idea.

    Keep in mind, too, that there are only two differences between these and the ones you are used. Size, and the fact Japanese eggplants are rarely bitter, so do not have to be salted and drained.

    Within that framework there's no reason you can't adapt eggplant recipes you have to these.
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    While you're playing around with them, here's a sandwich application you might like:

    Roast Eggplant & Red Pepper Sanwiches

    1 1/4 lbs Japanese eggplant

    1 red bell pepper

    1 green bell pepper

    2 garlic cloves, sliced

    2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    3 tbls mayonnaise

    1/4 cup basil chifonade

    8 thin slices mozzerella

    Preheat oven to 450F

    Cut peppers into 1/2 inch slices.

    Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2-3/4-inch dice.

    In a large bowl combine the eggplant, peppers, garlic and oil. Toss well and spread, in one layer, on a baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

    Spread mayo on 4 French rolls, tortillas, or pitas. Lay one slice of cheese on top of the mayo. Mound one fourth of the veggie mixture on each sandwich. Top with basil and remaining cheese.

    Wrap each sandwich in foil and return to oven for 10 minutes until heated through. Immediately remove foil so the cheese doesn't stick.
     
  6. siduri

    siduri

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    Thanks ky, though these are so thin you wouldn;t really get far stuffing them. They're no wider than the finger.  Maybe they're japanese, i don't know - i thought i saw them in

    Interesting sandwich idea. 

    How come you say to peel them?  Do usually peel eggplant or is this a different kind that has tough skin.  I never peel eggplant usually, nor do i salt it to remove the bitterness.  Either the eggplants here are less bitter or i like the bitterness. 

    Now how strange for the name, here they said  they were "Tailandese" (thai) but i also bought some others once in some special market and they were called thai and were all colors and tiny round egg-things like you say.  But italian nomenclature is not very precise and italians are not so familiar with asia and it wouldn;t surprise me that the guy was just ignorant of the type of eggplant he had. 
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I just automatically peel eggplant most of the time, Siduri. No particular reason except pernicious habit.

    If they're as thin as you say, I'd just slice them so the width was about the same as the diameter.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Probably no need to peel.  The peel on skinny eggplant is usually quite thin and relatively tender.  But steam one, give it a bite and see what you think.

    Among all the usual ways of cooking eggplant, the thin Asian types are especially wonderful spicy.  Since yours are practically noodle thin, you might as well play with their appearance.  Try roasting them, cutting to an appropriate length (if necessary) while hot, and saucing arrabiata

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  9. siduri

    siduri

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    steamed eggplant, bdl?. why would anyone steam eggplant? 

    Not sure i want to cover these eggplants in a tomato sauce, but the idea of using them in a pasta dish is interesting, maybe with a pasta of the same width like tortiglioni, with eggplant also cut the same size - maybe garlic, peperoncino, parsley, basil.  But my concern is that if they're just cut into lengths, the flavor of the garlic, etc, won;t penetrate into the meat. 

    And though i said not ONLY asian, that doesn;t exclude asian.  I have little experience with asian cooking techniques, and my knowledge is limited to a couple of japanese or chinese dishes. 
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Okay, so roast it, poach it, boil it, poele it, microwave it.  It doesn't matter.  The idea is just to test the skin. 

    I wasn't suggesting eggplant with the pasta, I was suggesting it instead of the pasta; or if you prefer, as the pasta.  Eggplant with the pasta, I know you have covered. 

    You're talking pasta 1/2" in diameter and you're willing about getting extra flavor into the meat of the vegetable?  For why?  Whuffo?  The sauce should carry enough flavor with each bite to take care of it. 

    As to Asian... I'm very fond of small eggplant in black bean sauce with lots of garlic and chilli.  Also, if you can get your hands on "chili garlic" sauce you could use that instead of black bean sauce.  Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces, wok them in hot oil until tender, remove them.  Stir fry the usual aromatics (garlic, scallion, ginger) until you get a nice smell (1 or 2 minutes at most), add a little bit of ground pork and brown it till it breaks up.  Then add the sauce, some broth, some soy sauce, a healthy splash of sherry (or madeira) if you can't get Chinese cooking wine, some corn starch slurry -- you know the drill -- cook it down until the starch starts to set up the sauce.  Return the eggplant to the wok, tossing it for a minute to get it hot.  Then turn out and serve.  If you want to cut down on the oiliness, par boil the eggplant for a minute before wokking. 

    You could also do the eggplant in any number of Indo/Pak ways.  Look for "brinjal" recipes on the net if you don't have a lot of "curry" techniques already. 

    I think that diameter begs for breading, deep frying and service with "dipping sauces," like aioli, salsa verdes, chimichurri, even a "nacho cheese" fondue.  You could do a nice breading mixing flour, polenta and bread crumbs in one ratio or another.

    BDL
     
  11. siduri

    siduri

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  12. durangojo

    durangojo

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    they are dynamite grilled first with xvoo and spices(split lengthwise, brushed with your oil/spice mix)...then added to your pasta...a simple  pasta dish for me would be the lovely grilled eggplants, cut across in strips, whole roasted garlic cloves, fresh basil, those big beans(butter, or lupini )shaved parm, s & fresh ground pepper...oh, and some roasted red sweet pimento(small julienne)...fresh pasta, of course...linguine...no sauce really, jut the drippings from the various ingredients...well, perhaps a tad more olive oil...that can never hurt! and for me, i would add peas, just cuz i love em, and i think they look great in a dish

    joey
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I never thought to ask if you have a grill. If so, a grilled veggie & farro salad is really nice.

    Split and grill the eggplants as Joey suggests. Do the same with zucchini, thick slices of onion, and wild mushrooms of your choice. You want to grill the veggies so they have char marks and are cooked through, but still a bit al dente. When cool enough to handle, cut the veggies into bite-sized chunks.

    Prepare the farro. Toss the cooked farro and veggies.

    Prepare a vinegraitte using evoo, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, a little Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Lightly toss the salad with the vinegraitte. Be careful not to overdress.

    Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
     
  14. durangojo

    durangojo

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    ky, 

    great idea with the farro...god, i love that stuff....since siduri's in roma, it shouldn't be hard to find or as pricey as it is here...why Is it so hard to find?...well, maybe because i'm in a small town, but the claim is that it is an ancient grain....how come i've never heard of it before last year?...also, this is about pumpkins...the little mini's in supermarkets...are they edible? i have always gotten them from a food purveyor for cooking(stuffed), but no where, i mean no where on that little mesh bag does it say edible...they make great paperweights, drawing on, carving....but nothing about eating them...they are not the ornamental lacquered up ones used this time of year for tables, or baskets etc...they look like the real deal minis...so what gives.....also, can you make me one of those roasted eggplant sandwiches? minus the mayo...and maybe paninied.....think i missed dinner last night, and that looks to 'hit the spot' ..thanks...

    joey

    snow on the mountaintops here and cold air movin in......hows the pumpkin patch?
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Farro is, indeed, an ancient grain, Joey. It was the basic ration of the Roman Legions.

    Reason it's so rare, in the U.S., is that there's only one commerical grower (Anson Mills), and it's available from them only in limited quantities. The rest is imported.

    Only place I've been able to find it is in The Fresh Market. What I get there is a 1-pound vacumn-sealed package, imported from Italy. Not the least expensive grain, by any means. But there's just the two of us, and a pound goes a long way.

    the little mini's in supermarkets...are they edible?

    Sure. In fact they make perfect edible bowls for individual servings of pumpkin soup.

    also, can you make me one of those roasted eggplant sandwiches? minus the mayo...and maybe paninied.....

    Why not? It fact it sounds great as a panini, with or without the mayo.

    think i missed dinner last night,

    You think you missed dinner? I'd say if you have to think about it, you didn't miss it. Maybe you skipped it, is all. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  16. durangojo

    durangojo

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    alrighty then, professor higgins, i 'skipped' dinner.....i get farro by the case in 1# bags(16) under the roland brand name....

    joey
     
  17. siduri

    siduri

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    I do something very similar with quinoa or with black rice (they call it venere rice (venus rice) or forbidden rice (like forbidden city, the emperor of china and all that) or both together, with mixed grilled vegetables, roasted chopped carrots and celery and onion , with a little brown sugar to caramelize, in summer tomatoes or roasted tomatoes, sometimes some grilled shrimp. 

    as for the grill, yes, I have one but I wouldn;t have made it as a vestal virgin on two counts.  For one i can't light a fire for the life of me.  My son brought me back a chimney thing from the states, and besides being terrified by the vortex of hellfire it shot up after a bit, it lit the charcoal all right, and burned it half up!  There was practically not enough left to make bruschetta!  I've given up.  My husband doesn;t come from a culture that thinks men should barbecue, so he's no  help.  (He does make the bread now though). 

    I dream of one of those stupid gas grills everyone has in the states, with its ceramic coals and instant lighting and cover.  But as it is, I use the gas stove and a grill pan (cast iron with ridges). 
     
  18. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    You probably waited too long to dump the chimney, Siduri.

    If you load it properly (not more than two pieces of newspaper, loosely crumbled), it only takes about 15 minutes before you should dump the coals. They won't all be ready, at that point, but the hot ones (those that had been closest to the bottom of the chimney) will take care of getting the others going. Once there's a uniform coating of gray ash you're good to go.

    I love the chimneys. Easiest way in the world to light charcoal without using chemicals. Wish I'd known about them years and years ago.
     
  19. dcarch

    dcarch

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    This kind of egg plant is very tender, not bitter, and delicate in flavor.

    I just steam them, a little EVOO and oyster sauce.

    dcarch[​IMG]