Friday, March 26, 2010

Learning to love brinjal

I form opinions quite quickly and rashly when it comes to food. All it takes is one bad experience and I'm put off. I don't really remember what turned me off brinjals but for as long as I remember I have hated brinjals. That pale gooey, seedy flesh was just a turn off. Even when dressed up in a fancier name like aubergine or one that has my favourite food (egg) in it -- eggplant, I was never impressed.

My colleagues Marty and Blessed Glutz however have been slowly (and deliberately) trying to reverse my intolerance towards this vegetable. Blessed Glutz with made ratatouille and baba ghanoush (an Arab eggplant spread/dip) and Marty with a grilled eggplant focaccia sandwich. And I must say, it's starting to work. I actually enjoyed those dishes and I've been experimenting with other ways of getting my brinjal groove going.

Most recently, I spotted a recipe for a brinjal appetiser that actually got me excited. A battered and fried brinjal served with a tomato dip -- simple enough except for the twist. The brinjal -- sliced, slated and washed -- was dipped in flour first, then egg white seasoned with soy sauce and finally polenta flavoured with herbs and curry powder. Interesting, no?

I didn't eat it as an appetiser though. Instead, I used it as a filler for a sandwich I made: a spanish omelette sandwich. I made use of the recipe's pairing of the brinjal with tomato salsa but I tweaked it a little and made a pesto out of it for a spread.

The brinjals tasted really good and I am finding myself to be quite the convert. The polenta crust was crunchy and a little spicy but the brinjal was soft inside it. And the golden yellow of the polenta was fantastic to look at too.

I now have a long list of things I wanna make with brinjal. Lasagna, an arabian chickpea-eggplant stew, Eggplant tomato bake, chilli eggplants ..... what a turnaround!

I wonder though if anything will change my absolute dislike of lady fingers. Anyone wanna tempt me?

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