Cooking With Eggplant, Fiji Style

While eggplant is not native to Fiji, it is widely used in Fijian cooking (although technically it is classed as a berry). It does in fact originate from India, and as close to half the population of of Fiji is of Indian descent, the eggplant has become a staple ingredient of many dishes.

Loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as anti oxidants, make this a very healthy addition to your diet. The rubbery texture of cooked eggplant takes a bit of getting used to. The first ones that I tried almost put me off eating them again... chewy, rubbery and very little taste.

Back then, I didn't realize that eggplant absorbs the tastes of other ingredients. The flesh will soak up the flavors and oils used in cooking. So now, I don't think of it as an ingredient with it's own taste, more as a vehicle to carry other flavors.

Why Cook With Eggplant?

This really is an undervalued food. It's nutritious, easy to cook, adaptable, and easily grown yourself (if you live in a warmer climate). The picture below shows eggplants (also known as Aubergines) for sale in the Suva markets. At five for fj$1, you won't find a cheaper main ingredient for a meal. In cooler climates (such as NZ, South Aust, and parts of USA) Eggplants are more difficult to grow, and you will pay a lot more. Perhaps $2 -$5 each.

eggplants for sale, Suva market Eggplants for sale in the Suva Municipal market, 5 for fj$1

Fijian Eggplant Recipes

Most Fijian eggplant recipes that I have tried, have been variations of a similar theme. First, grill or bake the eggplant. Once cooked, cut up the flesh and add a sauce or dressing. Simple, huh? Here is a popular Fijian dish that uses a dressing called "Miti"...which is a hot spicey sauce, often used with fish but also very good with eggplant.

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