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aubergine = berenjena = brinjal = garden egg = egg apple = patlican = melongene = melanzane = Guinea squash


This is a spongy, mild-tasting vegetable that's meaty yet low in calories.  It's never eaten raw, but it can be baked, grilled, or sautéed.   The best eggplants are firm and shiny eggplants with unbroken skin.   Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, and are therefore less bitter than female eggplants.  To sex an eggplant, look at the indentation at bottom.  If  it's deep and shaped like a dash, it's a female.  If it's shallow and round, it's a male.  Smaller eggplants also tend to be less bitter.   Freshness is important, so don't store them for very long.


zucchini OR cocozelle OR okra OR portobello mushrooms 



American eggplant = globe eggplant

This is the familiar large, dark purple, pear-shaped variety. 

1 medium = 1 pound = 4.5 cups of peeled and cubed eggplant

Substitutes:  Italian eggplant (this is smaller but similar) OR Japanese eggplant (1 American eggplant = 3 Japanese eggplants)




apple green eggplant  = green apple eggplant

Asian eggplants = Oriental eggplants, which include Japanese eggplants and Chinese eggplants, have thinner skins and a more delicate flavor than American eggplants, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter. They're usually more slender than American eggplants, but they vary in size and shape. They range in color from lavender to pink, green, and white.

baby eggplants   These are small versions of American eggplants, with sweeter flesh and thinner skins. If substituting larger eggplants for these, try peeling and salting them before cooking. 


Chinese eggplant  

Compared to the familiar American eggplant, Chinese eggplants have thinner skins, a more delicate flavor, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter. 

Substitutes:  Japanese eggplant (This is similar, but it tends to be a bit more bitter than the Chinese eggplant.) OR small Italian eggplant 

dried eggplant  Notes:  Look for these in Middle Eastern markets.


Filipino eggplant


garden eggs  These are tiny eggplants, the size of an egg or smaller. Their color ranges from white to greenish-yellow.  


green goddess eggplant  Notes:  This has a very mild flavor.

Hawaiian eggplant

Holland eggplant

Indian eggplant  

Substitutes:  Japanese eggplants

Italian eggplant

These are smaller than American eggplants, but they're otherwise very similar.

Substitutes:  American eggplant (preferably smaller ones)


Japanese eggplant

Like other Asian eggplants, Japanese eggplants have thin skins, and a sweet,  delicate flavor. 

Substitutes:  Chinese eggplant (This is similar, but it's quite as bitter as the Japanese eggplant.) OR small Italian eggplant 

pea eggplants =  baby Thai eggplants makua puong = makheau phuang   Notes:   These tiny Thai eggplants are quite bitter.  They're sold in clusters and look like large green peas.  You can find them fresh in Thai markets, or buy them pickled in jars.  Substitutes:  Thai eggplant (larger, not as bitter) OR English peas (For looks only; these have a completely different flavor.)

Rosa Bianca eggplant  Notes:  This Italian hierloom eggplant has very sweet, mild flesh and a creamy texture.  


Sicilian eggplants  These are large with purple stripes.  They have thin skins and a subtle flavor.  


Thai eggplants 

These golf-ball sized eggplants are more bitter than American eggplants.  They come in different colors, but they're usually green mixed with yellow or white.  They're often used in hot chile or curry dishes.  Remove the bitter seeds before using.  Substitutes:  pea eggplants (smaller, more bitter)

white eggplant  This eggplant has a tough skin but a more delicate flavor and firmer flesh than the American eggplant.   


Copyright © 1996-2005   Lori Alden