How Long To Cook Eggplant (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15 – 20 Minutes

Eggplant is known by various names. It is known as eggplant in countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. It is also called aubergine in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Quebec, and most of mainland Western Europe or brinjal in South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Africa.

It is the plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae which is grown worldwide for its edible eggplant. It is commonly purple, used as a vegetable in cooking. However, it is a berry by botanical definition. It is used in several cuisines.

It is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but due to its capability of absorbing oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking, it is used extensively in the culinary arts. India and China combined accounted for about 87% of the world’s production of eggplants in 2018.

How Long To Cook Eggplant?

StagesTime
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time15 – 20 minutes

Raw eggplant can have a bitter taste with an astringent quality, but it becomes tender when cooked. After cooking, eggplants develop a rich and complex flavor. They must be thoroughly rinsed, drained, salted, and cleaned before cooking to remove the bitterness. It is capable of absorbing fats and sauces quite efficiently and thus the dishes prepared with eggplants have an enhanced flavor.

It is used in the cuisines of several countries. It is also sometimes used as a substitute for meat in vegan and vegetarian recipes. Eggplant has smooth flesh with numerous small seeds inside. The seeds are edible and don’t necessarily require to be removed. The green part on the top of the eggplant, called the calyx, is required to be removed when preparing the eggplant for cooking.

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Raw eggplant is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and negligible fat. It contains low amounts of essential nutrients with only manganese having a moderate percentage. Minor changes in nutrients composition can occur with changes in season, the environment of cultivation, etc.

Eggplants can be steamed, stir-fried, pan-fried, deep-fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, or even pickled. Many eggplant dishes are made by mashing the vegetable. It can also be stuffed. It is frequently, but not always, cooked with fat.

Why Does It Take So Long For Eggplant To Cook?

Eggplant holds an esteemed place in the cuisines of various states. Western or globe eggplant is the most common and versatile variety of eggplant. This variety is larger with dark purple skin and hence enables one to get it cut in big chunks and slices.

One can find it all year round, although in some places its peak season is late summer. For cooking eggplant little preparation is required, however, this results in a succulent, tasty, and silky treat after cooking.

Depending on variety and size, eggplants take about 15 to 20 minutes to fully cook. Eggplant is one of those vegetables for which slight undercooking will not work. It must be completely cooked through until it is meltingly soft, smooth, and amazingly creamy.

The eggplants need a smoky taste. To achieve this, one should pierce the eggplant with a skewer and cook it whole and unpeeled directly over a grill flame for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin is blackened all over and the flesh is thoroughly soft.

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An alternative to grill-roasting is piercing the eggplant in several places and this time, roasting it whole and unpeeled on a baking sheet at 350 degrees. It can also be fried and cooked, as the eggplants have a typical trait of absorbing fats which makes them taste delicious. Usually, eggplants should be cooked until they are brown on both sides. One must flip the vegetable and ensure that it is evenly cooked from all sides.

Conclusion

Eggplant cooks very easily and does not requires a lot of cooking time. It is generally delicious for spicy food prepared with a generous amount of oil. Eggplant dishes taste heavenly with chapatis and even rice. A properly cooked eggplant looks slightly brown, reduced in size, aromatic, and creamy on the inside.

As eggplants absorb oil too well, one must take care not to drench it in oil. Choosing the right amount of oil, salt, and one’s choice of spices is the key to success in cooking yummy eggplant cuisines.

References

  1. https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/IND43968351/PDF
  2. https://www.mamralin.com/resources/publications/briefs/38/download/isaaa-brief-38-2009.pdf
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