Monday, 14 October 2013

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmigiana

The most important thing in determining the taste of food (in my opinion) is its preparation. Just like pumpkin which is so different when transformed into something more than just pumpkin and roti, eggplant goes far beyond "baigan choka" when it is done in the right way. Roasted, grilled or fried eggplant is actually quite good on sandwiches, pizza or lasagna. While a lot of people love "baigan choka", some people scorn it. It could be the spiciness from the onions or maybe the bitterness from stovetop roasting. When grilled or oven-roasted, the eggplant adopts a savoury sweetness, if that makes sense, that you don't get from "baigan choka". Now, I mention this dish numerous times because for a very long time, it was the only eggplant preparation I was familiar with. It was what I grew up knowing eggplant to be. It's the reason I thought I hated eggplant.

What is Baigan Choka (and recipe)?

Eggplant Parmesan is an easy, delicious was to prepare eggplant. It can be eaten as is for a low-carb dinner, or served with pasta, crusty bread or salad. While eggplant added to traditional lasagna is delicious, eggplant can be used to replace lasagna skins for a satisfying gluten free take on lasagna. Moussaka is another brilliant way to serve eggplant; it is very similar to an eggplant lasagna.
Eggplant parmesan is prepared in numerous different ways. Sometimes the raw eggplant is baked into a casserole with parmesan, mozzarella and marinara. Other times the eggplant is crusted with parmesan and breadcrumbs, fried (or baked) and then assembled with cheese and tomato sauce. To me, the latter achieves great texture in the dish. The slight crunch on the outside complimets the usually very soft inside of the eggplant. However, depending on how long it sits, it would not remain crispy because of the marinara. 

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