Baigan has so many names it is sometimes hard to keep track. It is known by the names eggplant, aubergine, brinjal, melongene, garden egg, mad apple or guinea squash and it is grown as a food crop all over the world. It was grown originally in Indian subcontinent from before recorded time. In India, it is known as the “King of vegetables”. Since then it has traveled the globe and garnered an assortment of aliases. Because of the popularity and worldwide availability of Baigan the same recipe is known around the world by different names. Arab version baba ghanoush, Greek version melitzanosalata, Romanian version zacuscă, and ajvar or pinjur in the Balkans.
In Trinidad and Tobago it is a local favorite known as Baigan Choka.
2 medium baigan, (melongene aka eggplant aka aubergine aka brinjal)
2 cloves garlic
½ onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Lemon juice (optional)
Using the olive oil, lightly rub the baigan completely. Cut 2 slits on either side and insert the 2 cloves of garlic. This would give it a rich garlicy flavor as the garlic is infused during roasting (baking). You can always chop the garlic finely and add it after if you are not a fan of garlic. It has always been believed that you need a gas stove, grill or “fire side” to perform this recipe. If you do not have access to an open flame to roast baigan, baking it in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes would do. The aim is to cook it completely through.
When it is finished cooking peel away the skin on one side and scoop out the cooked flesh. Now add onions, salt and pepper to suit your personal taste.
Note: Baigan could be substituted with tomatoes in this recipe for tomato choka.
This dish goes well with sada roti, coconut bake, and pita bread or pita chips.
Baigan health benefits
Baigan has a range of health benefits. These include an ability to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis, reduce symptoms of anemia, increase cognitive function, improve cardiovascular health, protect the digestive system, help lose weight, manage diabetes, reduce stress, protect infants from birth defects, and even prevent cancer.
January 2017 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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