Eggplants, Aubergine, Brinjal – they’re all names for the same plant. You may think you know about eggplants, but there’s actually several different varieties of them, and lots of interesting facts about them. In this post, we are going to take a look at all the different types of eggplants, recommended cooking, and recipes!
Eggplants Fun Facts
Here’s some fun facts about eggplants:
Eggplants are actually a fruit (and not a vegetable), just like tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers. These ‘veggies’ are actually all in the Nightshade family… which also includes…Tobacco! Which is why…
Eggplants actually contains the highest amount of nicotine found in any vegetable! Don’t worry though, you would have to have eat about 20 lbs (9kg) of eggplants to hit the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette!
Some food experts claim there is a difference in ‘male’ and ‘female’ eggplants and that they taste different! However, scientist disagree that there is such a thing.
As mentioned before, there’s not just one variety of eggplants, there’s actually many different varieties! Read on to learn more about the most popular 6 types of eggplants American, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian!
Probably the most common in the States – American Eggplants are also known as Globe Eggplants. It’s not hard to see why, they’re giant (compared to the other eggplants) and round, like a globe.
These eggplants flesh is mostly more mild flavored and spongey in texture, so it is good at absorbing spices and seasonings and other food it’s cooked with.
Since their body is so big, and they are almost ‘meaty’ in a sense, they are the eggplants for cutting in to giant slices, and then cooking it in this fashion, for example grilling, or making eggplant parmesan.
American Eggplant Recipes:
Even though Italian Eggplants look very similar to American Eggplants, however, they are different. Italian eggplants are a little smaller and their flesh is a little more tender compared to American eggplants.
They are also suitable for cutting in to giant slices to grill or eggplant parmesan and such dishes.
Italian Eggplant Recipes:
Of the asian variety of eggplants, Chinese eggplants are a lot thinner than American and Italian eggplants. They have a thinner skin and are less bitter as it has less seeds (the seeds are what makes an eggplant slightly bitter).
Since Chinse eggplants have a sweeter flesh with tender skin, which makes them perfect for stir fry and sauté recipes.
They are actually very similar to Japanese eggplants, but Chinese eggplants are a lot lighter in color. It’s good to know though, that you can easily substitute these two types of eggplants interchangeably in recipes as they cook similarly.
Chinese Eggplant Recipes:
- Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (魚香茄子)
- Thai Basil Eggplant
- Chinese Steamed Eggplants with Garlic Sauce
- Spicy Chinese Eggplant with Szechuan Sauce
- Stir-Fried Asian Eggplant
As mentioned, Japanese Eggplants are very similar to Chinese Eggplants. They do have a darker skin, more similar to American and Italian eggplants, however.
Japanese eggplants, like Chinese eggplants, have a tender skin and it has a sweet flavor as they are also seedless. A thing to note here though is that they do get a little more ‘bitter’ as they mature, so if you prefer a ‘sweeter’ taste, you may want to find a younger Japanese eggplant.
Also, as previously mentioned, cooking wise, you can substitute Chinese vs Japanese eggplants as they have similar taste and texture.
Japanese Eggplant Recipes:
These cute round eggplants are Indian Eggplants. Indian eggplants are sweeter and more tender than American and Italian Eggplants. These eggplants are small and round, just a few inches long, and have a smooth, dark purple skin.
Indian eggplants have a thicker skin than Chinese and Japanese, however, still not as thick as Americaan and Italian Eggplants. The flesh is more firm, and there are a few seeds.
For cooking, Indian eggplants are a bit sweeter and creamy in texture. It’s probably obvious to say that they are perfect for Indian cooking. You can slice or cube them and make mashed eggplant dishes, or stuffed eggplants.
Indian Eggplant Recipes:
Another cute round eggplant is of the Thai variety. Thai Eggplants look the most different from those other eggplants (the first time I saw it I didn’t realize they were eggplants!) They are tiny little eggplants and are more bitter than the American eggplant, especially the seeds.
These eggplants have a more crunchy texture and a slightly bitter taste. It gets more bitter as the plant matures. Unlike the other eggplants, you can actually eat Thai Eggplants raw! When eaten raw, it has a more mild taste.
Other than eating them raw (dipped with sauce, usually), these eggplants are also good in Thai curry, and also stir fry recipes.
Thai Eggplant Recipes:
- Thai Green Curry with Beef Recipe
- Roasted Thai Eggplant with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
- Thai Basil Eggplant