SEEMA Cooks: Spicy Cilantro Ginger Eggplant Sauté

Eggplant: The Fruit? The Vegetable?

A trivia question for you: is an eggplant a vegetable? Well, it may come as a surprise that the eggplant (also called brinjal or aubergine) is botanically classified as a berry (seriously??!), although most of us consider it a vegetable. Here’s a cute little poem from our post Healthy Veggie Parade that sums it up really well.

“Green, white or purple
long, oval or round
it’s never really a trouble
to find one around

Packed with potassium
and loads of iron too

Brinjal is really a fruit
wearing a veggie suit”

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. No matter how it is cooked (sautéed, roasted, fried or baked), it turns out great every time! Of all the different vegetables that are featured in several recipes on our blog, eggplant is at the very top.

Yet another health-related trivia: Have you heard of using of using eggplant water to reduce high blood pressure? Yes, there’s such a thing. Google it.

Eggplant Water

eggplantCut up a medium-sized eggplant into cubes and immerse it in a gallon of filtered water. Drink an ounce of this eggplant water daily. Check your blood pressure before and after. When the eggplant starts to disintegrate, drain and discard the pieces, but continue to drink this water. After several days, you may need to adjust the frequency of drinking this water. Apparently, the science behind this is that eggplants contain ingredients that affect ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme). This is the same enzyme blocked by popular blood pressure drugs. I am no physician, so please do your research before starting this regimen.

Should you grow your own produce?

A couple of years back I had rented a 30-square-foot plot in a community garden. Eggplant was my biggest crop on this plot. I also planted green beans, chili peppers, bell peppers and tomatoes. At one point, I had so much fresh organic produce I had to keep requesting my friends and neighbors to take some. After a point though, I was spending more time pulling out weeds and getting rid of bugs – and that wasn’t fun. With all my travel and the long commute to the garden, I had to give it up entirely as it was getting too difficult for me to give it more time. I so wish I had it now, during the current pandemic! It would have saved me trips to the grocery store and, more importantly, all the washing I need to do to make sure there are no coronaviruses hiding somewhere!

Early this spring I decided to take a shot at attempting a home garden and got myself some seeds and plants. I got some good organic potting soil, fertilizer and bug sprays. Before I knew it, we were under stay-at-home orders, and travel was out of the question. So I started spending a lot of time on my home garden. I planted my favorite Indian chili pepper, a dark green, slim pepper which is very popular in India. it is very flavorful and not very hot (the tender ones can be eaten raw!). I also added cilantro, tomatoes, mint and basil. It’s been a few weeks now and they are doing quite well. I used cilantro and peppers from my garden, for this recipe!

From this experience I strongly recommend a home garden for everyone. There is no saying how long the current situation will last. Even if it did not, it is always good to have your own organic herbs and vegetables handy.

Spicy Cilantro Ginger Eggplant Sauté

I cannot believe it has taken me five years to publish this recipe, even though it is the first recipe that comes to mind when I think of eggplants. Loaded with cilantro, ginger and hot green chili peppers, this dish is an explosion of flavors! In Telugu language, this dish is called Vankaya Kothimira Kharam – literally translates to ‘Eggplant Cilantro Spice.’  Watch this video and see for yourself how easy it is to cook this dish:

Why is this healthy?

Eggplant is a high-fiber, low-calorie food that is rich in nutrients and comes with many potential health benefits. From reducing the risk of heart disease to helping with blood sugar control and weight loss, eggplants are a simple and delicious addition to any healthy diet. Cilantro is a great source of antioxidants. Ginger has antibacterial properties and it also helps fight nausea. Chili peppers are a great source of Vitamin C and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Check out our other delicious eggplant recipes:

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound eggplant
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – grated
  • 3 green chili peppers – or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt – or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil – cold-pressed

Instructions

1. Cut, wash and drain eggplant. Blend ginger, cilantro and chili peppers into a coarse paste.

eggplant2. Heat oil in pan, add eggplant. Add salt, mix well.

3. Set a lid on. Stir occasionally and set lid back. Cook until eggplant is half cooked.

4. Add ginger-cilantro-chili pepper blend, mix well and cook for a few more minutes. You can poke a fork into the eggplant pieces to make sure they are done, while retaining their shape.

5. Transfer to a bowl. Serve hot. Goes great with steamed rice, quinoa or rotis.

eggplantNotes

Try this with Methi Paratha or Brown Jeera Rice

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible.

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Cilantro Ginger Eggplant Sauté
Amount Per Serving 175 gms
Calories 94Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Sodium 302mg13%
Potassium 301mg9%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 566IU11%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This article is published with permission from www.healthy-indian.com, a resource for healthy recipes and lifestyle tips.