Wednesday, September 04, 2013

How to make brinjal fry less oily.

Brinjal, aubergine, mad apple, garden egg or eggplant these are the various common names for brinjal. Probably the many shapes, sizes and colours have contributed to this name. Despite all the varieties, all brinjals have a spongy interior, with many tiny air pockets between cells. When cooking the air pockets collapse and the flesh is consolidated into a creamy mass. Hence when cooking, as the air pockets break, a large brinjal shrinks into a small volume. Also these air pockets have another consequence, when frying brinjal, it soaks up large amount of oil making any brinjal dish very rich. Unless, you are cooking the Arabic Turkish dish “Imam bayaldi” (the priest fainted) which requires brinjal to be soaked in oil, cooks can employ two tricks to reduce the oil absorption. Precook the brinjal (microwaving will suffice), this breaks the air pockets or salt the brinjal, this draws water from the cell, into the air pockets.

On a totally unrelated note, I just remembered a very interesting fact. The bitterness of cucumber is caused by a bitter chemical called ‘cucurbitacins’. This is a defect in cucumber and such cucumbers are disposed. Amazingly the same chemical, cucurbitacin, gives ‘bitter gourd’ its prized trait- the bitter flavour!! Cucurbitacin, is a water soluble compound, and blanching bitter gourd, before cooking can reduce its bitterness to a large degree.

P.S. : Thank you Lloyd, for pointing out that dish was Turkish. Though the controversy on its origin still reverberates in kitchens around the middle east; Ill stick to Turkey until its conclusively proven otherwise.  

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