I made the authentic bitter melon omelet and posted it a while back and someone had asked me what she could use as a substitute for the bitter melons and it reminded me of the boiled or roasted eggplant my mother used when bitter melons were unavailable. Eggplants were abundant and inexpensive, so she would cook them often. I remember it was very tasty and delicious that even for a picky eater like me (Surprise! Yes, I was a picky eater growing up to a point where I was teased for being skinny) really enjoyed it. Like the bitter melon omelet, the eggplant omelet (pictured below) is one of the staple dishes served at breakfast table during my childhood served with steamed rice.
Roasting eggplants is really easy and a healthier way to enjoy them instead of frying them. My mother would roast the whole eggplants (stem on) over the burning wood charcoal on her open wood stove until the skin is charred. Leaving the stem makes it easier to peel the eggplants. She would peel it along the length (while holding the stem) using her fingers starting just below the stem and then pulled it away until all the skin is completely off the eggplant.
To prepare the roasted eggplants as a meal, she would flatten them by pressing down the flesh with the back of a spoon or a fork then coated it with scrambled eggs seasoned with salt or salted shrimp fry. Then, pan-fried them and served warm with steamed rice to the side along with dipping sauce. Sometimes, my mother would prepare it as salad with tomatoes and seasoned it the same way. This is how my grandmother and my mother taught my siblings and I how to roast, peel and prepare them as a meal.
There are different ways to roast eggplants. You can roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes depending on size or until tender and skin turned brown. Or, you can roast them over the charcoal grill. Some roast them over the stove until the skin is charred. I prefer to roast them in the oven for less clean up. 🙂
You will need:
- pastry brush
- baking tray or baking dish
- wax paper or foil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash the eggplants in running water then wipe with paper towels. Do not cut the end part of the eggplant with the stem. Brush its skin with oil using a pastry brush (they cook faster). Place them on the baking tray lined with wax paper or foil and into the oven.
Roast until the skin turns brown or tender when touched about 20-25 minutes. Turn to the other side and continue to roast until fork tender. Check the eggplant doneness. Don’t rely on the color of the skin because oftentimes, it doesn’t always indicate when eggplants are done. You have to touch or prick them with a knife if they are tender or not. If they are tender to the touch, they are done regardless if the skin turns brown or not just like the picture below.
As you can see, they are still purple but very tender when touched or prick with a knife. They are done. You don’t want to overcook them or you will end up with just half the flesh.
Remove from the oven immediately. Set aside to cool. Peel the skin along the length starting just below the stem and pull away until all the skin is completely off the eggplant. Repeat the process for the remaining eggplants.
The eggplants are perfectly cooked when a thin layer (not thick) of skin is pulled away.
You now have beautiful roasted eggplants ready to use for any recipe called for in anything you desire to prepare for your family. Or, you can try the delicious Eggplant Quiche. 🙂
Note: Oven temperature varies depending on your oven. Mine was done in 23 minutes; adjust accordingly.
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