How to Cook Eggplant so that Kids Love it

The purple and glistening eggplant is actually a berry and not a vegetable. The origin of eggplants can be traced to the Subcontinent of India. Around the world, eggplants are also known as aubergine, guinea squash, brinjal, garden eggs, and melongene. They come in various shapes and colors. Eggplant belong to the family of nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. It has a unique taste and texture.

Eggplants are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. It is an excellent source of antioxidants which plays a vital role in protecting the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Minerals such as manganese, potassium, copper, folate, and niacin are found in abundance in eggplants. It is also a good source of dietary fiber which is essential for digestion. Moreover, scientific research on animals has shown that eggplants have the propensity to improve cardiovascular health by reducing the level of cholesterol.

In spite of all the health benefits, children seem to hate eggplants. Its bitter taste and spongy texture adds to the woes. To confront this issue, effort needs to be taken to cook eggplants in a manner most appealing to kids. Kids will certainly love these recipes.

Fried Eggplants

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

2 tablespoon corn flour

1 tablespoon gram (chick pea) flour

1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

½ teaspoon pepper powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

A pinch of red food color (optional)

Oil for deep-frying and

Salt to taste

Directions:

Cut eggplant into ¼ inch thick slices. Leave the skin on. Make a thick batter mixing together the ingredients mentioned above, except oil. If necessary you can add little water. In a deep, heavy skillet heat oil for deep frying the eggplant. One by one dip the eggplant slices in the batter and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve right away.

Eggplant with Cow peas

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, diced into 1 inch cubes

½ cup cow peas, soaked overnight in water

1 medium sized onion, chopped

½ teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon tamarind paste, and

Salt to taste

For seasoning:

¼ teaspoon mustard seeds

2-3 shallots, finely chopped

5-8 curry leaves

1 tablespoon oil (preferably coconut oil)

Directions:

Soak the cow peas in water overnight. Wash the cow peas; add chopped onion, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt and pressure cook it with enough water and a little salt for around 10 minutes or until done. The cow peas should get cooked but shouldn’t turn soggy. Now add the diced eggplant to the cow peas and cook until the eggplant turns soft. When the eggplant is done, add tamarind paste and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. For seasoning: In small pan heat oil. Coconut oil is preferred as it enhances the taste of the dish. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter followed by finely chopped shallots and curry leaves. Add to the cooked eggplant and cow peas. It’s ready to be served.  

Useful Tips

When cutting an eggplant, it is advisable to use a stainless steel knife to prevent them from turning black. First wash the eggplant thoroughly before cutting off the ends. Eggplants can be consumed with or without their skin. In some varieties of eggplants where the skin tends to be thick, peeling the skin will enhance its taste. After cutting, sprinkle salt on eggplant and keep aside for 30 minutes. This will help a great deal in reducing the excessive absorption of oil while cooking. While storing eggplants in the refrigerator, do not forget to remove the plastic film wrapper.

Enjoy cooking and eating eggplants. For an in-depth nutritional profile of eggplants visit: www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22#nutritionalprofile