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 favourite known as Baigan Choka.
Estimated preparation time: 10 minutes
Estimated cook time: 45 minutes
2 baigan (melongene, eggplant, aubergine, brinjal)
8 cloves garlic
4 bird peppers (chili pepper)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cut 2 slits on each side of the baigan and in each slit insert 1 peeled clove of garlic (4 cloves per baigan).
Cut 1 slit on each side of the baigan and insert 1 bird pepper (2 peppers per baigan).
Rub down the baigan with 1 teaspoon of oil.
Place baigan on rack over stove burner or on a grill to cook the inside for 15 minutes on each side; or bake it in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove baigan from fire, slit down the centre and scoop out the flesh from the skin.
Mash the flesh from the baigan, garlic and bird peppers, add salt and mix.
Slice up onion, saute in pot, then mix into baigan.
Serve with sada roti, coconut bake, pita bread or pita chips.
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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