[Wellbeing & You] Eggplant
Eggplant, also commonly known as aubergine or guinea squash, is available year-round in Hong Kong. Thanks to the warm and humid climate in the nearby tropical countries, eggplants can be grown all year long in those regions and allow a constant supply to Hong Kong. In other parts of the world, eggplant is a summer vegetable, which botanically is a fruit, mostly found in summer and early fall. Most of us would recognize the dark purple color and long oval shape of eggplants, but they can come in many other different colors and sizes as well, such as light purple, white and green. Eggplants are vulnerable and do not last long, only for a few days in the fridge, as they are sensitive to light, heat and cold. Store whole eggplants wrap in paper towel or in a reusable container before putting into the crisper drawer of the fridge to make sure they don’t get too cold and go bad.
Eggplant is a common ingredient in both western and eastern cuisines. Ratatouille, stuffed eggplant, grilled eggplant, eggplant tempura, braised eggplant with spicy minced pork are some popular dishes from different cultures. The unique purple color of this summer veggie is an indicator of its abundant nutrient content.
Being one of the rare natural foods that comes in a dark purple color, eggplant’s special color comes from a higher concentration of anthocyanins which is an antioxidant that protects our cells from free radical damages and may have beneficial effects on our mental health. As a vegetable, it is not surprising that eggplant is one of the contributors of the dietary fibre we have in our diet, providing 2.5g (9% daily value) dietary fibre in one cup cooked eggplant (99g). Insoluble fiber helps keep things moving through our digestive tract quickly and therefore plays a role in preventing constipation and hemorrhoids, while soluble fiber helps manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases satiety to support weight loss. Keeping the peel is a good way to retain the healthful nutrients, as anthocyanin is mainly found in the purple skin only and dietary fiber is also more abundant in the peel.
When preparing eggplant, especially in Asian ways, be cautious about the amount of oil we use in cooking. The spongy flesh of eggplant can absorb a large amount of oil and result in a high calorie dish which is not favorable to people who are managing their weight. Steaming and baking may be healthier cooking methods, but we still need to pay attention to the toppings or stuffing added to the dish.
Let’s enjoy this summer vegetable to add the hard-to-get purple color in our diet and get the valuable nutrients.
Eggplants have both a small water footprint and a low carbon footprint that are similar to many other plant-based ingredients. Interestingly, eggplants are always sold unprocessed without much packaging, and this makes eggplant greener and better to our environment. By choosing foods that are less processed and uses less packaging are also good ways to reduce our impacts on the planet.
Compass Chef’s Recipe Sharing
Steamed Stuffed Eggplant
|· 100g frozen shrimp, defrosted|
· 200g minced pork
· 1 large green onion, chopped
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 1 teaspoon rice wine
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· ¼ teaspoon white pepper, grounded
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 large eggplant
· 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
· 2 tablespoon water
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
· 1 teaspoon cooking oil
· 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· ¼ teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved
|1. Smash shrimp with knife and then mince them with the back of the knife until shrimp mixture becomes sticky|
2. In a large bowl, mix shrimp mixture, pork, green onion, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, pepper and salt together well, set aside
3. Place a chopstick on each side of the eggplant, slice eggplant to 1cm thick while keeping the bottom connected (chopsticks can help with that)
4. Stuff the shrimp and pork mixture into the eggplant slices
5. Place the stuffed eggplant on a round plate and steam it until medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes
6. In a small bowl, mix oyster sauce, water, soy sauce, sugar and sesame seed oil together well, set aside
7. In a small pan, heat cooking oil with medium heat, add garlic and stir until fragrant
8. Add sauce mixture to the pan and then bring to boil
9. Add well mixed cornstarch water to the pan and stir
Pour sauce onto cooked eggplant and enjoy
- allrecipes – How to Store Eggplant. Available at: https://www.allrecipes.com/article/how-to-store-eggplant/ . Access on 8Sep2023.
- FoodData Central –Eggplant, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169229/nutrients . Access on 8Sep2023.
- Water Footprint Calculator – The Water Footprint of Food Guide. Available at: https://www.watercalculator.org/water-footprint-of-food-guide/ . Access on 8Sep2023.