Best Cooking Time - Techniques - Methods - Flavors
Eggplant Cooking Time - How long to cook eggplants
Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are a high fiber spongy vegetable (okay it is actually a fruit but is considered a vegetable culinarily.)
They are related to the potato and the tomato as part of the nightshade family. Eggplants come in many shapes and colors. The two primary types readily available are western, and Asian. The western is the teardrop shaped dark purple variety; the Asian, often referred to as Japanese eggplant is the long, thin, lavender variety.
Eggplants have a reputation for being bitter, but most younger eggplants are not bitter. Bitterness has been greatly reduced in most modern eggplants through breeding.
Although many recipes call for cutting up and salting eggplants to remove the bitterness, this is not usually necessary, and according to Harold McGee salting only masks the bitter taste; it does not actually remove the bitterness.
The pre-salting does help to collapse air pockets in the cell structure of the eggplant so that it does not soak up as much oil while it is frying. Pre-cooking eggplant pieces in a microwave (another Harold McGee suggestion) is another way to reduce oil absorption before sautéing or shallow frying.
In the following table planks are pieces cut along the length of the eggplant, rounds or coins are cut across the width of the eggplant.
|Eggplant Cooking Method
Cook until desired tenderness. The texture you are looking for will vary with the recipe. Don't undercook eggplants.
||Wash and cut into many forms, or juice. (a less common preparation method)
||1 in. chunk 15 - 20 min. (a less common preparation method)
||1/2 inch planks or rounds, oiled, over direct medium heat 8 - 10 minutes -
Halved along length Japanese eggplants, over direct medium heat 12 - 15 minutes
||cut in half lengthwise 400 F. about 1 hr. Rest 20 min. before removing skin
||½ inch planks 20 – 25 min at 500 degrees F., turn once
||375 F. oil about 1 minute per side for ½ inch rounds (coated in bread crumbs) till golden brown.
||350 F. Oil halfway up the ½ inch eggplant rounds for 5 – 6 minutes turning once. This process is used to cook eggplant before assembling with other ingredients to bake Eggplant Parmesan.
||Cut eggplants in half, steam for 15 - 20 minutes till tender. This is often done on a heat proof plate inside of a steamer (a less common cooking procedure)
|Stir Fry or Saute
||¾ inch cubes about 3 – 6 minutes till texture you want.
3/4 in. with 2 tablespoons water 6 - 8 min. stir once
Slices or chunks 3 min.; diameter of eggplant does not make much difference in pressure cooker timing.
Test for Doneness: When eggplant pieces are the texture that you desire.
Eggplants are used in Asian (especially Indian), Middle Eastern, and European (especially Italian) cuisine.
Flavors That Go
Common ingredients used
in eggplant recipes include:
chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh thyme
dry white wine
fresh bread crumbs
grated Parmesan cheese
lemons and lemon juice
red and green bell pepper
red pepper flakes
red wine vinegar
sesame seeds and oil
Classic Eggplant Recipes:
Baklazhannaia Ikra (sometimes called Eggplant Caviar and Poor Man’s Caviar)
Pasta with Eggplant
Thai Green Curry with Eggplant
Deep Fried Eggplant
Eggplant Tips And Techniques
It is not recommended to store eggplants in the refrigerator. They store best on the kitchen counter for several days.
Remove the stem from eggplants before cooking. Removing the skin is optional. Some people enjoy the different texture the skin can add to a dish, but it is usually removed before pureeing a dish.
Salting and draining over a colander for 20 to 60 minutes before cooking is optional. It probably does not actually remove bitterness
but it may hide any bitterness that may be present in older eggplants. It will help to keep eggplants from absorbing excess oil, but some recipes actually depend on absorbed oil to create the optimum texture.
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