I must admit that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of eggplant. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there are a LOT of foods that I was absolutely certain I didn’t like, but it’s really that I just haven’t had them cooked the right way, or prepared with the right flavors and spices. In a surprise to no one, I love Indian flavors, so I knew they’d be an easy way to win my taste buds over when it comes to eggplant. Another critical part of this recipe that may help any of the other eggplant haters our there is to make sure you’re using Chinese eggplant. They’re smaller, less bitter, have fewer seeds, produce less moisture when cooked, and so they are perfect for a high heat method like grilling! I like to oil both my grill pan AND the eggplant itself to ensure there’s no sticking or tearing, since it can be a fairly delicate vegetable. The best thing about this method to me is that you can swap in any of YOUR favorite spice blends to make this extra delicious to you; a Mediterranean or Italian spice blend would be so good! Finally, let this recipe be your reminder that you can and should be grilling things besides meat. It’s a delicious and fun way to cook outside during these warm summer days!
1. Eggplant Types
There are a lot of different kinds of eggplant, and they tend to be regional, so the type you see often in a US grocery store – the American eggplant – will be totally different from the type you see in other countries. I use Chinese eggplant here because they’re less bitter, have fewer seeds, produce less moisture when cooked, and are pretty small, so are perfect for a high heat method like grilling!
2. Salting Method
Eggplants are PACKED with moisture, so it’s always a good idea to salt them to draw out some of their moisture before you begin cooking them. This helps season them too, so two birds, one stone!
3. Mix Up the Spices
I chose masala as my primary flavor here because it’s one of my all time favorites, but I encourage you to choose whatever flavor is YOUR favorite. Eggplant is a great blank slate, so anything from a Mexican spice blend to Italian herbs would be absolutely delicious in this recipe!